Reverse the Surge: More Newspapers Call for Iraq Withdrawal

By: E&P Staff Perhaps other papers had discussions or plans in the works for weeks, but it appears that The New York Times' editorial last Sunday calling for the start of a U.S. withdrawal in Iraq may have inspired some major metros to follow a similar line since. Until recently, few papers, no matter how critical of the conduct of the war, had backed a withdrawal of any kind.

The latest today include the The Philadelphia Inquirer, which in an editorial titled "Getting Out of Iraq," declares, "Bush's principles are blocking him from changing his Iraq policy sufficiently to get U.S. troops home as quickly and responsibly as possible. Members of Congress need to be the grown-ups in the room....

"Numerous proposals on Iraq are being discussed on Capitol Hill. The best result would rely on the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group.

"Chief among them is planning to remove most U.S. troops from heavy combat in 2008. But that withdrawal needs to be done carefully, with adequate troop protection as military columns head out of the country. Withdrawal will be a very dangerous part of the mission....

"The best proposal would leave the details of military tactics up to Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, while setting overall objectives."

The Detroit Free Press declared on Friday: "It is understandably difficult for the president to declare Iraq a 'lost cause' in terms of the decisive victory and thriving democracy he envisioned five years ago. And Bush is correct that presidents are elected to do what they believe is right, not what is popular.

"But it is not right to maintain a costly course that is failing to deliver results. Even the modest progress to date could easily evaporate....It is time to start getting America out of Iraq, to stop debating whether the glass is half empty or half full, and start to drain it."

Today, the Sacramento Bee, while not endorsing a pullout right now, also criticized the president's plans: "There are no options for a graceful exit. The choice is among unpalatable alternatives. Republicans and Democrats in Congress increasingly understand this. The problem is that President Bush still doesn't, and he is the one who must do the planning for a safe, orderly disengagement....The president's best course is to act resolutely and courageously to find a way out of Iraq, with Congress as his partner."

Earlier this week, the Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, which endorsed Bush for president in 2004, also came out for the start of a withdrawal.

The Boston Globe, a much more liberal paper that had not previously backed a pullout, declared on Tuesday, "Public opinion and the open dissent of more and more Republican senators are forcing the Bush administration to reconsider its military strategy in Iraq -- and its vague, dilatory timetable for troop reductions. The time has come for President Bush to face reality. The key decisions he must make now are not about staying the course, but about the best ways to reduce the numbers and the combat role of US troops."


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