This is an excerpt from senator Lindsey Graham's interview on The Newshour. There was a series of interiviews with Republicans and Democrats and I think Graham is actually the most learned and eloquent of all the participants. He completely outclassed Carl Levin. Here goes,
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), South Carolina: "Well, my hope would be that, when we leave Iraq militarily, that we will leave behind a functioning government, not a utopia, but a place where Sunni, Kurds and Shias can meet in Baghdad and other places throughout the country and find a way to solve their problems without violence, that the rule of law will replace the rule of gun, that my biggest hope for Iraq is that, when you find yourself in a courtroom in Iraq, it will be about what you did and not who you are.
Now, these are high ideals. We haven't achieved them all here at home, but really my basic hope is that Iraq will become a momentum-builder, in terms of tolerance versus extremism, that the government we leave behind and the people we leave behind accept each other's differences and consider that a national strength, that the rule of law will be entrenched, and that an elected, representative democracy will take hold, and people will have a way to solve their differences without exhorting to violence and extremism, and it would create momentum for other people who share that vision in neighboring countries.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And do you believe that can happen if U.S. troops leave within the next year, which is when most Americans and now a majority of the United States Senate is saying they should leave?
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: You know, one of the things -- this is a good question. One of the things that I think people at home are asking themselves, "If we stayed there forever, would the Iraqi people be capable of coming together, and setting their religious differences aside, and live together in peace and tolerance?"
I think, in South Carolina, Judy, there are people getting shaky along the lines of, "I've lost confidence, not in the troops, but the Iraqi people." I have not lost confidence in the moderates in Iraq to win the day. And if we left now or said that we're going to leave in May of '08, no matter what happens on the ground, then I think the likelihood of these moderates being able to survive is greatly diminished, because the enemy, once they hear the date for withdrawal, will know exactly what they need to do to destroy reconciliation, and reconciliation has been slow to come.
So I think a hard deadline for withdrawal empowers your enemy, and it will reset the negotiations in Iraq. If I'm an Iraqi politician, and I believe that America is going to be gone at a date certain, no matter what happens on the ground, I'm probably going to make political deals differently than if I believed I would have America as an ally to get me through the counter-surge of extremism I know is coming my way."