Is the end in sight?

August 15th, 2005 – 10:37 pm
Tagged as: Iraq

On Sunday the New York Times published a piece by columnist Frank Rich called “Someone Tell the President the War Is Over.”

Nothing that happens on the ground in Iraq can turn around the fate of this war in America: not a shotgun constitution rushed to meet an arbitrary deadline, not another Iraqi election, not higher terrorist body counts, not another battle for Falluja (where insurgents may again regroup, The Los Angeles Times reported last week). A citizenry that was asked to accept tax cuts, not sacrifice, at the war’s inception is hardly in the mood to start sacrificing now. There will be neither the volunteers nor the money required to field the wholesale additional American troops that might bolster the security situation in Iraq.

What lies ahead now in Iraq instead is not victory, which Mr. Bush has never clearly defined anyway, but an exit (or triage) strategy that may echo Johnson’s March 1968 plan for retreat from Vietnam: some kind of negotiations (in this case, with Sunni elements of the insurgency), followed by more inflated claims about the readiness of the local troops-in-training, whom we’ll then throw to the wolves. Such an outcome may lead to even greater disaster, but this administration long ago squandered the credibility needed to make the difficult case that more human and financial resources might prevent Iraq from continuing its descent into civil war and its devolution into jihad central.

Thus the president’s claim on Thursday that “no decision has been made yet” about withdrawing troops from Iraq can be taken exactly as seriously as the vice president’s preceding fantasy that the insurgency is in its “last throes.” The country has already made the decision for Mr. Bush. We’re outta there. Now comes the hard task of identifying the leaders who can pick up the pieces of the fiasco that has made us more vulnerable, not less, to the terrorists who struck us four years ago next month.

As Kos notes:

Frank Rich becomes the first mainstream columnist to say out loud what we have been saying for some time — there are no more corners to turn in Iraq. There are no solutions to this Debacle. Bush has failed. Now we must find a way out that best serves the interests and the security of the United States and the world. A time for new leadership, which long since arrived, remains the most important imperative — because BushCo has no clue and has no resolve. The control of this situation must be snatched from them. By public pressure and by electing Democrats with starch in 2006.

The idea that Democrats shouldn’t take on Bush over the terrible mess in Iraq is what cost Kerry the election, and there are those in the party who apparently still haven’t learned that lesson. Let’s hope that as the polls show less and less support for Bush’s handling of the war, more and more Democratic politicians will remember where they put their spines. If not, then they need to be replaced with Democrats who still have theirs.

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    If this National Assembly does not have the mindset required to produce a meaningful Iraqi constitution, then it is best to dissolve and re-elect the assembly than settle for a prop. It is more important to get it right, than to get it “right now.”

    As Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari noted, “We should not be hasty regarding the issues and the constitution should not be born crippled.” The constitution must be meaningful – a living, breathing document that can be a foundation for the long road towards a real democracy in a united Iraq.

    Comment made by Kira Zalan on August 16, 2005 @ 10:41 pm

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