The fifth anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War was marked by a deluge of retrospective commentary, much of it focused on the past: how we got into this conflict and how it has been conducted. Fine, it is always appropriate to assess lessons learned. But why and how we got into Iraq and what choices could have been made differently are not central to when and how we get out. Washington loves to exaggerate differences in nuance into appearing as major and substantive differences””My opponent sees six eggs, but I say there are half a dozen””but the difference between the McCain and Obama positions is largely one of emphasis rather than degree. Language in one may appeal to neoconservatives, in the other appear to concede to liberal sentiments, but when one puts campaign rhetoric aside, the fundamentals are largely the same. The Iraq “debate” now largely recycles the same ground, and given these parameters, it is not surprising that there is not much creative thinking among Washington politicians about what to do next in Iraq. We will continue to meander in Iraq”and continue to bleed in terms of lives and treasure”until we have a serious debate, not about the Iraq we would like to see, but the Iraq we are prepared to live with.