Vermont Senator George Aiken once offered LBJ a succinct Vietnam exit strategy along the lines of “declare victory and get out.” And of course, it’s been quoted by a ton of folks. But failing that unilateral approach, Robert Dreyfuss has a piece on what international Iraq peace talks might look like. He argues that talking our way out might be the best way to avoid a civil war-like disintegration of Iraq. The most important question: what resistance forces actually get invited? (Apparently the Russians have some thoughts about that guest list.)
But first, says Dreyfuss, the U.S. would first have to publicly concede that it won’t win the war militarily, issue widespread amnesty for Baathist-era crimes, and draw back to bases in Iraq only to venture out for protective purposes. I won’t disagree that that would be what it would take to get any sort of negotiations going—and those steps seem to mostly be an honest reckoning about the facts on the ground. Of course I don’t have much faith in the administration facing up like that. But Dreyfuss has the broad outlines of a plan that occupation opponents can work with; and it’s far more sensible than the stay the course/ blame Bush/and hope for the best non-thinking that Senator Biden flacked this weekend on Meet The Press, or the cut-n-run strawman.