You can follow links through to Baird's editorial if you wish. The bottom line is that this sort of thinking simply isn't allowed in the Democratic party. "I have committed even before setting pen to paper the essential crime that contains all others unto itself."
For those who don't want to click 3 links to read it, it's here.
It's a perfectly articulate op-ed which makes all the usual assertions, with no new information :
a) things are now changing for the better,
b) the soldiers want to finish the job; not letting them would be doing a disservice to their sacrifice,
c) we destroyed Iraq, so it's up to us to fix it,
d) leaving will, at least, embolden terrorists and at worst permit a complete fundamentalist takeover of the entire middle east,
e) we're substantially leaving anyway... all we're talking about is leaving some people there to help out.
Suffice it to say that (a) is presented as a fact without support besides personal anecdote, which I find unconvincing. Nonetheless, (a) is the one element I have genuinely conceded MIGHT make a difference. I certainly don't intend to base my feelings on Petreus's report, since I don't find him sufficiently objective, but I'm willing to be convinced that this is true.
As for the rest, (b) is offensive, (c) is facile, (d) is speculative and unproven and (e) is almost certainly understating the reality.
I personally believe that *staying* is as likely to cause assertion (d) as leaving is, and quite certain to cause (as, in fact, it already has caused) different, equally dangerous results.
I agree that a 100% pullout represents a massive humanitarian clusterfuck. I'm just not at all convinced that staying with anything like our current troop levels prevents it.
As for "Democrats" at large, I definitely think there's a tendency to reject anything associated with Bush out of hand, and this is, in fact, not a bad policy, as I've argued, given history.
For this case in particular, the concern I have is that the whole business has been planned from the beginning, including the apparently poorly planned invasion. I know there are elements in our culture that have wanted for many years to have us engaged in a massive, region-conquering war that pacifies and Americanizes the entire middle east. It's galling to think that one is playing into such a plan, especially if you feel like doing so is the "right" choice at the moment. The fear of being manipulated into effectively supporting this culture war mentality is one I think a lot of Dems feel, if only at a subconscious level.
Rep. Baird Gets Blasted for Iraq war views