Students inspect the bootsWhat is your plan for Iraq? At every press conference, interview and fund-raising event, the presidential candidates are all asked this same pointless question. And it’s pointless because next to nothing can be done to salvage Iraq.

A planned withdrawal from Iraq should start now. To say longer is really just an embodiment of the Sunk Cost Fallacy where it is argued that the amount of time, effort, or money already invested in a project justifies the investment of yet more time, effort and money in order to complete the project.

The US no longer has the capacity to determine the outcome of that country’s civil war, so to ask candidates how they would fix it is merely to invite them to talk and talk without saying anything. Instead we should be asking President Bush’s would-be successors whether they can do what he cannot: acknowledge failure in Iraq and look beyond it. Free cupcake

Iraq, after all, was meant to be just the starting point of an open-ended global war on terror. Candidates who still find merit in that original cause should explain how we might prevail in such an enterprise in the wake of the Iraq fiasco. Where might we fight next? What will victory look like? Candidates who are sceptical of further military action, meanwhile, should be pressed to describe their alternative plans for dealing with violent Islamic radicalism. Will they isolate it? Subvert it? And by what means?

What’s your plan for Iraq? was the right question back in 2002 and 2003. Too bad nobody thought to ask George W. Bush then.

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The motivation for war is simple. The U.S. government started the war with Iraq in order to make it easy for U.S. corporations to do business in other countries. They intend to use cheap labor in those countries, which will make Americans rich. Michael Moore

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