By Editor-in-chief
updated 11/15/2006 10:37:54 AM ET 2006-11-15T15:37:54

John wants to withdraw troops from Iraq and replace them with pro-war Republicans. Aristotle wants U.S. forces to remain indefinitely after reducing the death toll a bit. Bob doesn’t know what he wants.

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“What is our goal in Iraq? Really. I want to know,” Bob said in an online debate Tuesday. Disapproval of the war fueled an anti-Republican wave in congressional elections last week, but nearly three out of five Americans say newly empowered Democrats do not have a plan to deal with the war, according to an AP-Ipsos survey. With little faith in their leaders, Americans are searching for  solutions – hashing out the war with each other in living rooms, diners, at the job and online.

A goal of victory “is just too damn general. Is our goal stability? A Democratic government? Any government that is not theocratic?” asked Bob on HOTSOUP.com, an issues-driven social networking site. He did not provide his last name.

“The main purpose is to keep Iraq from rewarding and supplying terrorists,” replied Aristotle Jackson. After carefully laying out the options, including Sen. John McCain’s call to increase troop levels, Aristotle wrote, “Let progress occur at its own pace. Just keep the U.S. troops as safe as possible, and do whatever minimum needs to be done.” He said that if the United States military reduces the loss of life to two or three deaths a week in Iraq “this will demonstrate that the U.S. can remain in Iraq indefinitely” and terrorists will “gradually start to behave better.”

“Why don’t we start by sending your family to fight this war?” wrote John to the pro-war contingent at HOTSOUP. “If you think we should stay and even send more troops, the best way to do that is for every person who thinks this, and truly believes this, should pick up a gun and go – and take everybody who feels the same way with them.”

HOTSOUP polling reveals little support for either immediate withdrawal of the troops or staying the course. Two-thirds of the online community favors a phased reduction, and a majority wants the United States to seek a political division of Iraq. Join the conversation on this issue.

Copyright 2012 by HotSoup.com

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