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Both Nichols and Carpenter rightly noted that antiwar forces cannot fool themselves into thinking that a U.S. withdrawal will produce some obvious and quick good result on the ground in Iraq. Given the sad reality that, forced as we are by Bush’s bungling into a situation with nothing but bad options, the situation in Iraq during and immediately after any U.S. pullout is apt to be as big, or even bigger, a chaotic violent horrifying mess than the one we are now futilely and poorly babysitting, will the Democrats, especially ones with presidential dreams, dare to run in 2008 against a hideous backdrop where they can be demonized as the craven capitulators who “lost Iraq”?
As David Sanger summed up in the New York Times last week, “Despite the Democrats' victory last month in an election viewed as a referendum on the war, the idea of a rapid U.S. troop withdrawal is fast receding as a viable option.” What fueled my column predicting little effect for the war on this year’s election was a belief that our political masters don’t always feel inclined to follow the public interest or the public will. Especially given that voting Democratic was by no means the same as voting for a clearly expressed withdrawal from Iraq, even if many voters seemed to think so, while my prediction that the war would not be a decisive political issue seems falsified specifically, I’m not convinced I was entirely wrong: if elections are meant to be a way for the people’s will to be actuated through politics, then it does seem as if people’s attitudes toward the war were not really vitally important after all.