Anyone who has spent even a day in the Middle East should know that the Arab street would not thank us for abandoning Iraq. The blame for civil war would fall squarely on our shoulders. It is unlikely that the tentative experiments in democracy we have seen in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and elsewhere would survive the fallout. There would be no dividend of goodwill from heartbroken intellectuals or emboldened Islamic extremists. American troops might be home in the short run, but the experienced professionals know that in the long run, quitting Iraq would mean more deployments, more desperate battles and more death.
Sixty-four percent of us know that we have a good shot at preventing this outcome if we are allowed to continue our mission. We quietly hope that common sense will return to the dialogue on Iraq. Although we hate leaving our families behind, many of us would rather go back to Iraq a hundred times than abandon the Iraqi people.
A fellow Marine and close friend epitomizes this sentiment. Sean has served two tours in Iraq as a reserve officer. During his last tour, he was informed of the birth of his baby girl by e-mail, learned his father was dying of cancer, and was wounded in the same blast of an improvised explosive that killed his first sergeant on a dirt road in the middle of the western desert. Sean loves his family and his job, but he has made it clear that he would rather go back to Iraq than see us withdraw.[emphasis mine]
There's nothing more despicable than wishing for defeat in Iraq for no other reason than to discredit the president, but that's exactly what Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy and a host of others do every day.