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Presidential double track on Iraq?

Five years after the Iraq War began, all of America is still wondering: when will it end?

And the answer to that question depends, in part, on who gets elected president this fall.

Barack Obama has vowed to bring U.S. combat troops home in 16 months, and Hillary Clinton says she will bring most of America's fighting forces back by the end of 2009. But John McCain remains determined to stay the course and keep U.S. troops in Iraq for the long term, if necessary, to secure the country.

That Democrat vs.  Republican debate dominates the public sphere, but privately, Iraq experts see the end of the war as anything but a simple question.

They worry that neither the American nor the Iraqi people have the stomach for an occupation that lasts much longer … but that too quick a pullout will lead to massive bloodshed in Iraq.

In other words, five years into the war, America faces not a question but a condundrum: how do we end a war that few people want to fight when the alternative to that war could cost countless lives?

-- Jerry Zremski

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