The land mine analogy is catchy, but, alas, not very pertinent. The hole-digging analogy is slightly better: when you're sinking into a deepening hole and you need to stabilize the situation, stop digging.
The fact is, nobody really knows how Iraq can be defused while the United States insists on keeping its military forces there, and even sending more. The presence of 150,000+ American troops and the advent of a stable, peaceful Iraq are probably mutually exclusive. We should start by acknowledging this, and from there seek a practical route to a stable, unified Iraq by asking the U.S. to declare the start of a gradual but steady withdrawal from Iraq, restoring the country to a sovereign state.
That might trigger a more vigorous effort by Iraqis to achieve a constitutional accord, because they would have a legitimate indigenous government to aspire to join and influence. The Iraqi government today, backed by U.S. armed forces, enjoys only tenuous legitimacy. Many in the country shy away from association with it or seek to replace it. Legitimacy will spur stability, rather than the confused American sense that more troops and security operations will create a stable situation.
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