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Time to recognize and accept the harsh realities of Iraq

By
October 11, 2006

Now that so many supporters of the Iraq war have moved beyond denial, anger, bargaining and depression, and accepted the fact that the war is being lost, the elaborate dance preceding the withdrawal of American troops has begun.

In just the past few days, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner has signaled that in another “two or three months” it will be time to consider whether we need a fundamental change of course in Iraq, while longtime Bush family adviser James Baker has indicated that the Iraq Study Group he co-chairs will declare the president’s “stay the course” strategy untenable.

Meanwhile, prominent hawk Fareed Zakaria has declared in Newsweek that “it is time to call an end to the tests, the six-month trials, the waiting and the watching, and to recognize that the Iraqi government has failed. It is also time to face the terrible reality that America’s mission in Iraq has substantially failed.”

Unfortunately, President Bush is likely to be the last man in America to recognize this. Thus we are stuck in a terrible situation: While there are rational arguments in favor of escalating the Iraq war and withdrawing altogether from it, the one course that almost every expert on the question agrees makes no sense — maintaining enough of a military presence to inspire both the insurgency and sectarian violence, but not enough to effectively curtail either — is the course on which we seem destined to remain.

Indeed, Bush is quoted in Bob Woodward’s new book, State of Denial, as telling top Republicans at a White House meeting that he will not withdraw from Iraq, even if his wife and his dog are the only ones still supporting him.

Escalating the war is probably a political impossibility, and will remain so, even if Republicans manage to hang onto a slim majority in Congress. And withdrawal is psychologically out of the question for the president. So the next two years are likely to feature a pointless parade of expert commissions, congressional hearings, earnest opinion columns, and so on, making recommendations that have no chance of being adopted before January 2009.

All of which means it will become increasingly clear that American troops are being killed and wounded in Iraq for no good reason. And, as in Vietnam, hard-core hawks will be hunting for scapegoats to blame for this fiasco. Some likely candidates include:

— Liberal Democratic politicians, who betrayed their country by failing to give their wholehearted support to the nation’s president in a time of war.

— The liberal media, which stabbed our soldiers in the back by failing to support the war effort, thereby sapping morale both on the battlefield and on the home front.

— The liberal Hollywood elite, who failed to use their talents to highlight how America was fighting to liberate an entire region of the world from tyranny, and instead spent their time making films attacking traditional family values.

— Liberal university professors, who poisoned the minds of our youth by always blaming America first, often at taxpayer expense.

— The Jews, who got America into this war because they thought it would be good for Israel.

— Something about Bill Clinton, preferably having to do with his sex life.

The truth is that the only people to blame for the Iraq catastrophe are the political leaders who planned this war, launched it and are now losing it, through a combination of arrogance, ignorance, incompetence and mendacity.

History will note that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their enablers throughout the government and the media lost the Iraq war, while doing incalculable damage to America, squandering the lives of thousands of our troops and those of countless Iraqis, and wasting hundreds of billions of dollars in the process.

That is the only mission they accomplished.

(Paul C. Campos is a law professor at the University of Colorado and can be reached at Paul.Campos(at)Colorado.edu.)

16 Responses to Time to recognize and accept the harsh realities of Iraq

  1. TRUTH 101

    October 11, 2006 at 4:29 pm

    THE TRUTH IS THAT THE ONLY PEOPLE TO BLAME FOR THE IRAQ CATASTROPHE ARE THE POLITICAL LEADERS WHO PLANNED THIS WAR, LAUNCHED IT, AND ARE NOW LOSING IT, WHILE DOING INCALCULABLE DAMAGE TO AMERICA THROUGH A COMNBINATION OF ARROGANCE, IGNORANCE AND INCOMPETENCE….

    NO TRUER WORDS WERE EVER SPOKEN.

    But, words are just that, WORDS. There MUST be penalties IMO and those penalties should be commiserate with the complete ignorance, foolishness, and ilklegalities imposed in ANY world situation for invading a soverign country to spread your personal version of democracy and Christian Values.

    This was not about Democracy OR Christian values. This was about money, power, greed and oil by essentially three millioaires, make that multi-millionaires and their families and friends.

    All of it with BILLIONS AND BILLIONS of taxpayer dollars. All of it with the maiming of over 12,000 brave soldiers and the killing of 2800 more.

    Those penalties cannot simply be losing control of the government to the other more liberal Democratic side and that’s it.

    American elected a man to the highest office in the land that hgad absolutely NO QUALIFICATIONS to be in that position, but qualified for this job because he was over 35 years old and an American Citizen.

    He in turn became PNAC’s perfect poster boy who would do nothing, say nothing, feel nothing except as he was told. The title was all he wanted along with the attention that comes with the job.

    Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, Mr. Rumsfeld and others MUST pay-back the American people, it’s depleated treasury, and laws must be passed tht DEMAND that never again will an unqualified person be able to ascend to the position of President of the United States simply by the current standards of acceptance. This and a few misplaced votes the first time and paperless voting machiene the second time gave us George W. Bush, NOT a person who trusts in or prays to God but a person who believes God talks to him.

    In my opinioin, John Kerry would not have been much better. He might have at least listened to two sides of the argument rather than only the people who put him there. His indecisiveness may have made a smaller problem but at least it would not have been a you sit here and we’ll do the work,

    On November 8th, Bills of impeachment MUST be introduced. It is the only way IMO that AMERICA, the truly great nation that still exists somewhere can show the world this group of THUGS PNAC does NOT speak for the American People and we might begin to get our honor back.

    I still believe there is going to be something major that will happen between 1-6 NOvember if ANY of these PNAC driven madmen, realizing they are about to lose the grip thay now have on this government have their way.

    Time for Americans to JUST SAY NO to these types.

    If this is not done then history will again repeat itself.

  2. keith

    October 11, 2006 at 5:48 pm

    It’s clear that our esteemed Mr. Bush doesn’t yet understand that neither his wife nor his dog hold the purse strings of the US Government. That’s the specific job of the US Congress. And, the US Congress can bring our participation in the Iraq war to a screeching, grinding halt in a heartbeat…simply by refusing to continue funding it.

    This fact, in turn, makes the majority of the members of the US Congress clearly and unambiguously guilty of collusion in that same Iraq debacle because, up to now, they HAVE continued to fund it.

    We all need to remember that fact come November 7th.

  3. FRANK MEDEIROS

    October 11, 2006 at 7:52 pm

    WAKE UP AMERICA IT IS GETTING LATE . WHERE ARE YOUR BALLS

  4. GlennK

    October 11, 2006 at 9:25 pm

    All of the above will be blamed and anyone else that doesn’t blindly obey this criminal gang called the Bu$h admin.

  5. Neal Goldstien

    October 12, 2006 at 12:46 am

    Once George Bush is successfully impeached and removed from office, the temptation to try him and Cheney for treason will be strong. Rather than doing that, I suggest that they be turned over to the World Court in the Hague to stand trial for war crimes — and then be sentenced to life imprisonment, perhaps in Chechnia or Indonesia.

  6. rbank

    October 12, 2006 at 4:23 am

    I agree they need to be arrested and turned over to the Hague. Then the world will help them clean up the mess junor made this time. THese are mad men. We shouldn’t wait for NOvember. They shouldn’t have been allowed to steal the first election.

  7. Donna Hughes

    October 12, 2006 at 5:03 am

    I’ve long considered Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz (now moved on) to be the Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse. They most certainly should be brought up on charges of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity.

    Every time I hear a cameo about the lost life of one more soldier I curse them. And they must also be responsible for the deaths of more Iraqis now than Saddam. Of course Bush dicredits the latest estimate from a Johns Hopkins survey of 650,000.

    You know, of course, that Bush doesn’t recognize the World Court as a legitimate court. Time for an attitude adjustment.

    And finally, who caught the painfully long press conference this morning? Have we ever had a President who is a worse example of a speaker? He makes all of those faces like someone who is so smug and arrogant that he is patronizing everyone out there in the audience. He doesn’t even attempt to speak properly but contemptuously uses poor pronunciation and seems proud of it. He is such a disappointment and embarrassment for a President.

  8. TruePatriotWarrior

    October 11, 2006 at 2:19 pm

  9. TRUTH 101

    October 11, 2006 at 4:29 pm

  10. keith

    October 11, 2006 at 5:48 pm

  11. FRANK MEDEIROS

    October 11, 2006 at 7:52 pm

  12. GlennK

    October 11, 2006 at 9:25 pm

  13. Neal Goldstien

    October 12, 2006 at 12:46 am

  14. rbank

    October 12, 2006 at 4:23 am

  15. Donna Hughes

    October 12, 2006 at 5:03 am

  16. TruePatriotWarrior

    October 11, 2006 at 2:19 pm

    You can just imagine the political cartoons. Imagine Bush’s wife and his dog finally having to tell him, “George, we no longer support your war–we’re leaving.”