Bush has run out of time because this mission-not-accomplished has lasted way too long -- longer than America’s participation in World War II. History tells us the longer this occupation goes on, the more resourceful the resisters to it will become. He has run out of time because of disturbing revelations about how much he and Vice President Cheney tortured the truth in their manipulative buildup to the war. And, the president has run out of time because the utter failure of his hubris-driven effort to stabilize the Middle East, by overthrowing a heavy-handed dictator, is exacting a more bitter price in American blood and treasure every week.
This time, I'll skip the harm it has done to others.
The permit has expired for the campaign Bush launched on Mar. 20, 2003. No doubt, that was a good part of the message voters were sending him in the most recent election. Yes, and now it’s time for a whole new strategy that gets America out of Iraq, pronto -- that’s pretty much the rest of the message about Iraq, sent from the people.
Now, if Bush goes on TV and says here’s the new deal:
We have talked some of Iraq’s neighbors and some of our traditional allies into helping out in a new way. Under a UN flag, or a NATO flag, or some ad hoc international flag, they will cooperate with us in facilitating America’s withdrawal from Iraq. They will send in 50,000 or 75,000 of their troops to combine with 20,000 more of our troops, to help us clean out a few stubborn trouble spots. Then, in a couple of months, we will ask the UN to work with the various sects/tribes to “decide” how many countries Iraq ought to be split into, and where the borders ought to be. Then we will come home. Maybe Baghdad will have to be nervously policed by an international force for years.
If he says something along those lines, then I’d say a temporary “surge” in the number of American troops in Iraq might not be such a bad idea.
But if The Decider says this:
We were dead right to have started this war, and I just don’t care who says different. Yes, it’s been more difficult to bring democracy and peace to Iraq than we had hoped, but now, all we need to do is put more Americans in harm’s way, and you’ll see it will all work out, just fine. Hey, if we don’t fight the terrorists in Iraq -- 9/11, 9/11, 9/11 -- there’s no question but that they will soon be at our doorstep. So, this is a war we just can’t afford to lose. There is no substitute for victory.
If Bush spouts that crap, again, he deserves to be stiff-armed by Congress. That means Democrats and whatever Republicans must block any specific funding for this so-called “surge.” Then our legislators must set a firm deadline for Bush to bring our troops home, using the tools the system gives them.
Please know that until now I’ve been against a rigid published deadline. Until now, I’ve agreed that it would tie our military’s hands in a way we might regret.
Now, the message to The Decider is plain -- Sir, enough is enough!
During the years in which America’s involvement in the Vietnam War steadily escalated to more than a half-million troops, each escalation was sold as the solution to the problem. Now we know those increases were folly. Thousands of Americans died long after it was known at the heart of the Pentagon we would never win, at least not in any way like we had been told in the beginning, or to justify the many increases in troops.
As a man who remembers the lies and the lessons of Vietnam, it is incredibly exasperating/depressing to see it all happening again.
Enough is enough.