MR. BROOKS: Well, if we leave, we could see 250,000 Iraqis die. You had the John Burns’ quotation earlier in the program. So are we willing to prevent 10,000 Iraqi deaths a month at the cost of 125 Americans? That’s a tough moral issue, but it’s also a tough national interest issue because we don’t know what the consequences of getting out are. And the frustration of watching the debate in Washington, very few people are willing to, to grapple with those two facts, that there’s””that the surge will not work in the short-term, but getting out will be cataclysmic. And you see politicians on both sides evading one of those two facts. But you’ve got to grapple with them both.
MR. HAYES: And, and one of the things that the president said at this discussion that David was at, and I was at as well, was that he intends to make the case that, “Look, this is going to be a disaster if we get out.” He didn’t say it in exactly those terms, but he’s going to start making, in many cases, the negative case. “Look at what Iraq will look like if we leave. We have a moral obligation to the Iraqis to stay.”
MR. WOODWARD: And the problem, though, is, we don’t know. People can say, “Oh, it’s going to be a disaster.”
MR. BROOKS: Uh-huh.
MR. WOODWARD: I mean, you cite numbers which you have pulled out of the air of 10,000 dying. I mean, that’s””that””where does that come from?
MR. BROOKS: Well, A, it comes from John Burns. Second, it comes from the national intelligence…
MR. WOODWARD: Well, no, he doesn’t say 10,000.
MR. BROOKS: Well, no, no, but it talks about genocide.
MR. WOODWARD: Yeah.
MR. BROOKS: So I just picked that 10,000 out of the air.
MR. WOODWARD: OK, but that””we’ve got…
MR. BROOKS: The National Intelligence Estimate says that””well, most people, as Burns reports, say it will get much, much worse. So that’s the, that’s the dilemma.
MR. RUSSERT: But, David Brooks, you, you will hear a lot of people will say, you know, “The administration has made misjudgments before about WMD, about the level of troops needed, about being greeted as liberators. They could be wrong about what would flow from a redeployment of American troops.”
MR. BROOKS: Absolutely they could be wrong. And, and so we’ve””and, and it could be that peace will break out. But I think, if you look at Iraq, you see four or five civil wars going on at once. You see Shia fighting each other. You see the Sunni-Shia thing. It could be that there’s””this is just a process they need to go through, and there’s no way we can stop it in any case. Joe Biden was very honest this week. He said it’s a moral failure if we leave, but we’re going to have to do it. That at least is grappling with the issue.
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