A newly released Gallup poll asked this question, the central question -- really the only relevant question -- regarding what we should do about Iraq:
If you had to choose, which do you think is better for the U.S. -- to keep a significant number of troops in Iraq until the situation gets better, even if that takes many years, or to set a timetable for removing troops from Iraq and to stick to that timetable regardless of what is going on in Iraq?
The reason why this is the central question is because it describes the two sides of the mainstream political debate. Keeping troops in Iraq until the situation is better, no matter how long it takes, is the Bush/McCain position. Setting a timetable for withdrawal and adhering to it regardless of what is happening there -- i.e., regardless of whether things are better or we're "winning" or "losing" -- is, roughly speaking, the view of the Democratic presidential candidates and, even more so, the defining premise of the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq sponsored by 42 Democratic Congressional candidates.
Americans overwhelmingly favor unconditional withdrawal and it's not even close. They favor that by a 25-point margin, and it's a 29-point margin among independents. Those are huge margins. Very few public policy questions of any significance produce margins that large.
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Sure, some strident neocons toss out straw man arguments, such as the fact that most Americans don't support immediate withdrawal (neglecting to mention, of course, that no one ever suggested the American public did support immediate withdrawal, or the fact that neither Democratic candidate has advocated for any such thing, either.), but the rest of us in the more reality based community understand the political & social implications of these poll results, which are reliable, and in fact have grown over time.