BAGHDAD—Citing the Bush Administration's ongoing refusal to provide a timetable for withdrawal, the U.S. troops stationed in Iraq have devised their own exit strategy.
"My marines are the best-trained, best-equipped, most homesick fighting force in the world," said Staff Sgt. Cornelius Woods. "Just give us the order, and we will commandeer every available vehicle to execute a flanking maneuver on the airstrips of Mosul. By this time tomorrow, we will have retaken our positions at our families' dinner tables in full force."
In a striking rebuke of the assertions of the Pentagon and the White House that a swift exit is neither practical nor possible, soldiers of varying rank have outlined a straightforward plan of immediate disengagement, dubbed "Operation Screw This."
"We kicked around several withdrawal scenarios in our barracks, but ultimately settled on the idea of getting out of here as soon as possible," said Maj. Brian Garcia, who is on his third tour of duty in Iraq.
Supporters of the Iraq war say the reconstruction of politically and economically devastated Iraq will take decades, and the gradual process of departure will begin only after a lengthy occupation.
"I'm familiar with the 'years of occupation to facilitate reconstruction' theory," said Army Spc. Megan Beaulieu. "However, virtually every soldier I know—including myself—gives more credence to the successful Dutch and Spanish approach of 'we've done all we can here, let's move out.'"
She added: "Apache helicopters could rendezvous with us in Fallujah. If we left our supplies behind, we could be out of here in 15 minutes."
"I served in South Korea and Germany," said Capt. Barry Graves of the Maryland National Guard, a Vietnam veteran who at 57 was called back into service last year. "I still carry shrapnel in my leg from Khe Sanh. Is it time to go home yet?"
A recent ABC News poll found that the American people are split on the exit strategy. A University of Baghdad survey, however, finds that the exit strategy has the support of approximately 99.3 percent of the Iraqi population.
Pfc. Barbara Terland expressed the sentiment of many soldiers and Iraqis. "If the real reason we're here is to let the Iraqis run their own country, I have the perfect solution: my ass on a plane to St. Louis."
Inspired by the unilateral policies of the White House, Pfc. David Wareham has concocted a unilateral strategy of his own.
"My exit strategy is beautiful in its simplicity," Wareham said. "It involves me personally getting out of here the first chance I get. If I do that, I just might get back to my son, who is a year old and who I have never even met. If that doesn't work, I'll revert to Plan B, which is to retreat into complete insanity."
U.S. Army Chief Of Staff Peter J. Schoomaker said he and the commander-in-chief are analyzing the situation and devising the best possible way to get the troops home safely.
"If the chief of staff is truly interested in ideas about exiting from Iraq," Pfc. Terland said, "I think that it would be a great idea to debate it openly. Why don't we fly home to Washington so we can discuss it together over a cup of coffee?"