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Well now that we've done health care--back to Iraq

In case you missed Thomas Ricks's op-ed:Ricks wrote two terrific books on Iraq while covering the warfor the Washington Post. His sources are mostly military, and/but he raises some issues that have dropped from the discussion--like can the Iraqis stave off civil war without a serious U.S. military presence beyond this year. I myself have often wondered about the Kurdistan issue, but clearly there are many more loose ends, which he points out. "Extending Our Stay in Iraq"http://

About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.



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By coincidence, I just happened to be reading an editorial of ours from April that quotes Ricks.

This from Rick's piece: "As a longtime critic of the American invasion of Iraq, I am not happy about advocating a continued military presence there. Yet, to echo the counterinsurgency expert David Kilcullen, just because you invade a country stupidly doesnt mean you should leave it stupidly."Yet....It may be that the sectarian divisions in Iraq and the tribal ones and the national ones will make peace an elusive goal. Can U.S. troops really change that? Ricks makes some arguments that he thinks they can, but perhaps he is only echoing his military sources.

Mr. Ricks has a web log at the Washington Post's magazine Foreign Policy website which I imagine you would find interesting if you are not familiar with it already:

There are new credit card laws, thanks to the CARD Act, and while some are happy, the companies that fund those credit cards are weeping in their...whatever. (They probably drink the blood of baby seals.) Credit card companies can no longer change interest rates without advanced notice, cannot market to college students, and cannot be given to anyone under 21 years of age without a co-signer of proof of ability to repay. Essentially, it might cut down on people having to get payday loans just to pay credit card bills. The card companies are crying about it, of course, and are anticipating far stricter lending policies.

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