Global Politics

Candidates on devising an exit strategy

The American public appears to have a more positive view of the war in Iraq than it did a year ago. That's got to be good news to McCain. McCain said today that Americans agree with him that the surge has improved the situation. McCain said voters have a choice: withdraw and let Al Qaeda win and democracy collapse, or see the strategy through. People may be seeing more progress, but a solid majority of Americans still believe the war was a mistake, according to this political scientist professor. He says the pattern has been the same since the Korean War and that could be trouble for McCain, who believes �never surrender� is the best strategy. This analyst says McCain still needs to address the question of what comes next. The Democrats say they know what needs to come next and that's a withdrawal. Hillary Clinton portrayed herself for the most qualified candidate to bring American troops home safely. Obama made a similar speech this week. Obama says he would pull US troops in about 16 months, Clinton says within 60 days. They both say consulting American military commanders is key, but there's little consensus among such commanders. The logistics are very difficult and complex as well. Closing down bases under hostile fire is challenging. One analyst says it took six months to get US troops out of Somalia in the 1990s, and if all goes as smoothly as possible, he thinks it would take about two years to get US troops out of Iraq. Both Obama and Clinton think some US troops need to stay behind too though, a residual force that could add up to tens of thousands staying indefinitely.