Editorial in The Washington Post: "An early or unconditional withdrawal would invite disaster 'with devastating consequences . . . .'"
What . . . neither party wants to hear [is that w]hile "progress is real," as Mr. Crocker put it, it is also "fragile" and "reversible," as Gen. Petraeus said. That's why Gen. Petraeus is recommending -- correctly, in our view -- that troop withdrawals be suspended after the five surge brigades are withdrawn and that further reductions be based on conditions in Iraq.
Contrary to Mr. McCain's suggestion [that "success is within reach" and that American goals can be achieved "perhaps sooner than many imagine,"], success will require a prolonged commitment, and even then it will not be guaranteed. But [Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker] both argued that such a commitment is justified. Even with all the travails of the past five years, "Iraqis, Americans and the world ultimately will judge us far more on the basis of what will happen than what has happened," said Mr. Crocker. And an early or unconditional withdrawal would, as he noted, invite disaster "with devastating consequences for the region and the world."