Take these numbers with a grain of salt because they’re from the Associated Press, which isn’t necessarily the most honest or trustworthy news outlet out there:

At the same time, dissatisfaction with President Bush’s handling of Iraq has climbed to an alltime high of 71 percent. The latest AP-Ipsos poll, taken as a bipartisan commission was releasing its recommendations for a new course in Iraq, found that just 27 percent of Americans approved of Bush’s handling of Iraq, down from his previous low of 31 percent in November.

…Even so, Americans are not necessarily intent on getting all U.S. troops out right away, the poll indicated. The survey found strong support for a two-year timetable if that’s what it took to get U.S. troops out. Seventy-one percent said they would favor a two-year timeline from now until sometime in 2008, but when people are asked instead about a six-month timeline for withdrawal that number drops to 60 percent.

You know, Bush really is taking a political hit to do the right thing in Iraq because I’d bet you that support for the war would go up 20 points over night if he laid down an actual timetable. Of course, if Bush were a more eloquent speaker, the support for the war would probably be significantly higher, too.

For example, how many people understand that “victory” is having a democratic Iraqi government that can handle its own internal security? How many people understand that, cross your fingers, we’ll probably have a large number of troops coming home before 2008?

Since the liberal media is opposed to the war and wants to be see Bush fail, they won’t explain these things to the American people. That means only Bush has a megaphone big enough to get the message out and he doesn’t seem to be capable of doing so.

Moreover, if we give the Iraqi government enough time to train and equip their troops and take the militias apart before we go, I’m far from convinced that Iraq will collapse into a real civil war the moment we leave. Sure the terrorist attacks will probably continue, but nations like India and Israel have been able to continue to function despite terrorist attacks. If the Iraqi government has a military force superior to any other within their country, there’s no reason they can’t hold it all together. Sure, it may not be Sweden, but what country is over there?

On the other hand, if we were to leave Iraq in the lurch before they could defend themselves, we could see a real civil war break out in Iraq with all the neighboring nations playing a role, an invasion of Iraq by its neighbors, or a Shia led pogrom against the Sunnis.

Ultimately, whether Iraq becomes a stable, democratic state will depend upon the Iraqis, not the United States. However, we should at least be willing to hang in there long enough to give them a fighting chance to make things work after our troops head home.

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