A War Without Reason
There should no longer be any doubt that the war in Iraq is an exercise in lunacy. It was launched with a spurious rationale, the weapons of mass destruction, which turned out to be a fantasy relentlessly stoked by obsessively hawkish middle-aged men who ran and hid when they were of fighting age and the nation was at war.
Now we find that we can't win this war we started. Soldiers and civilians alike are trapped in the proverbial briar patch, unable to move around safely in a country that the warmongers thought would be easy to conquer and then rebuild.
There is no way to overstate how profoundly wrong they were.
As the pointlessness of this war grows ever clearer, the president's grand alliance, like some of the soldiers on the ground, is losing its resolve. When John Kerry, in the first presidential debate, mentioned only Britain and Australia as he mocked Mr. Bush's "coalition" in Iraq, the president famously replied, "You forgot Poland."
Poland has 2,400 troops in Iraq. But on Friday the prime minister, Marek Belka, announced that he will cut that number early next year, and then "will engage in talks on a further reduction."
Mr. Belka has a political problem. He can't explain the war to his constituents. And that's because there is no rational explanation.
The president and his apologists never understood what they were getting into in Iraq. What is unmistakable now is that Americans will never be willing to commit the overwhelming numbers of troops and spend the hundreds of billions of additional dollars necessary to have even a hope of bringing long-term stability to Iraq.
This is a war that never made sense and now we are seeing - from the troops on the ground, from our allies overseas and increasingly from the population here at home - the inevitable reluctance to forge ahead with the madness.
The president likes to say he made exactly the right decision on Iraq. Each new death of a soldier or a civilian, each child who loses a parent to the carnage, each healthy body that is broken or burned in this war that didn't have to happen, is a reminder of how horribly wrong he was.
Monday, October 18
Bob Herbert, Writing the Blunt Truth - Again
Posted by Howard Hoffman at 1:05 AM