We are condemned, the smart guys tell us, to stay in Iraq. None of the three leading Democratic presidential candidates will pledge to remove all U.S. forces by 2013. In the think-tankocracy of Washington, defense intellectuals of both parties argue that pulling up stakes is not an option.
"Some of the people mentioned as possible defense secretaries under a Democratic White House," The Post's Thomas E. Ricks reported last month, "offer a vision of a U.S. presence in Iraq that does not differ markedly from that of the Bush administration." Even the fantastical idea floated by Defense Secretary Robert Gates -- that U.S. forces should settle into a permanent presence in Iraq as they have in South Korea -- seems to have won at least tacit acceptance among many defense deep thinkers.
Everyone's on board except the American people, but what do they matter?