I am amazed at how many people who opposed the US invasion of Iraq now believe that the US "cannot just pull out" of the war. These are not wingnuts. They are generally intelligent, good-hearted people. Yet they insist on this illogical non-reasoning: it was wrong to go there in the first place, but now that we're there, we have to stay.
This view ignores a near-certainty: the US will have to pull out eventually anyway. The "insurgency" will not be crushed. People fighting against an occupation are endlessly motivated and resourceful. Combine that with a willingness to die for their cause and you have a recipe for endless war.
Richard Nixon said, "I will not be the first American president to lose a war." Then Americans were airlifted off a roof in Saigon. 58,000 Americans and half a million Vietnamese died before it was over. Who knows how many were permanently maimed, physically and emotionally. What will the final tally be this time? This much we know: Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld won't lose a wink of sleep over it.
In his recent piece in the Miami Herald, Howard Zinn says, "The definition of fanaticism is that when you discover that you are going in the wrong direction, you redouble your speed."
Zinn offers some historical examples and suggests a next step.