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A Tale of Two Headlines

So much said in so few words. The problem with the Iraq war and how the Republican leadership would address it is summed up in two short headlines on Yahoo News this week:

Kissinger: Iraq military win impossible
McCain says more troops needed in Iraq

When Henry Kissinger—the man who told Bush the only way to lose in Iraq is to quit—says there is no military solution to Iraq, then you know we're in the shit.

It makes John Kerry's words 30-odd years ago in front of a congressional hearing on Vietnam all the more poignant:

"... how do you ask a man to be the last man to dies in Vietnam? How do ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

And yet, the Republican maverick John McCain is calling for MORE men and women to face death in Iraq. And for what?

Many Democrats are no better. They call for timelines that extend for years and benchmarks that nobody expects to be met. And for what? How is the chaos in Iraq today going to be any better in 12 or 24 or 36 months? This tragic situations for the Iraqis is not tempered by the deaths of more Americans. Their dead will not rise with each of our fallen.

And we all wait for James Baker to save us. The man who was the orginal George Bush's brain and the man who gave us (by legal wrangling in front of the Supreme Court) George Bush the Younger, is going to deliver a set of recommendations that the President is not bound to accept.

This madness needs to end as soon as possible. How soon is now?



The problem is that the Iraq war was never intended to be "won" in any traditional sense. The war's primary purpose was to take advantage of a culture of fear in America and maintain an image of America fighting for the survival of all things goodly and Western. This war is a product of Washington D.C. think-tanks and political strategists. This plan worked wonders for the Republicans in '02 and in '04.

That the political landscape changed here in '06 almost doesn't matter to Bu$hCo. The Boy King can just spend the next two years playing golf and clearing brush on his ranch. You can be the farm that the Republicans will run in '08 with a message that says the Democratic congress lost the war in Iraq for us, whther we're still there or not.

A little too cynical/tin-foil-hat for me, JML. No, I think the war was for genuine (if tragically misguided) reasons. Bush saw his chance to be the "next Reagan" after 9/11 and decided on a doctrine to reform the Middle East, starting by completing a the job his father left unfinished in 1991. Iraq was/is to be the staging ground for this "reform." Too bad they didn't listen to all the warnings. Too bad they set the goal ("democracy") too high. Too bad they had to sell it through fiction because the fact would have been a much tougher sell. It was many things, but it wasn't some cynical gambit.

We now have a moral obligation to Iraq whether or not we personally disagree with the Bush doctrine. Kissinger is of course right--the military alone cannot "win" this thing, nor (as he points out) is withdrawal a supportable proposition.

I'll ask again: what is "success" in Iraq?

When their security forces can "stand up" then we'll know? The Pentagon claims up to 400,000 Iraqis have been trained. That's more than three times as many US troops.

When a representative government is in place? We've heard over and over again how millions of Iraqis showed up to vote and elected a multi-ethnic, multi-factioned parliament.

When the violence stops? Well...

Sorry. I just can't help but think that if "victory" was the goal, the Powell Doctrine would have been employed and we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Well, Powell was about the only sensible guy in the room, that's for sure.

I still can't believe he's not more pissed.

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