JUST SAY IT….Fareed Zakaria, at the end of a column that acknowledges there’s nothing much left that we can accomplish in Iraq, says this:

America’s only real leverage is the threat of withdrawal….Washington can warn the ruling coalition that unless certain conditions are met, U.S. troops will begin a substantial drawdown, quit providing basic security on the streets of Iraq and instead take on a narrower role, akin to the Special Forces mission in Afghanistan.

And one last thing: for such a threat to be meaningful, we must be prepared to carry it out.

This is about a millimeter farther than he was willing to go last month, but for some reason he still can’t quite bring himself to flatly say that we need to leave ? even though he seems to understand pretty clearly that U.S. troops no longer have any chance of contributing to peace or stability in Iraq. Apparently the straitjacket of maintaining membership in the community of serious mainstream analysts is a powerful one.