The Road Home
It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit.They are quick to criticize the Bush administration but not so quick to acknowledge their own culpability.
Like many Americans, we have put off that conclusion, waiting for a sign that President Bush was seriously trying to dig the United States out of the disaster he created by invading Iraq without sufficient cause, in the face of global opposition, and without a plan to stabilize the country afterward.Bush or more likely Cheney did indeed create the disaster but the had a lot of help from the NYT whose reporters acted as stenographers for the neocon propaganda machine. They recognize that what many of us have been saying for years was correct.
At first, we believed that after destroying Iraq’s government, army, police and economic structures, the United States was obliged to try to accomplish some of the goals Mr. Bush claimed to be pursuing, chiefly building a stable, unified Iraq. When it became clear that the president had neither the vision nor the means to do that, we argued against setting a withdrawal date while there was still some chance to mitigate the chaos that would most likely follow.And of course there must be a "it's the Iraqis fault" caveat.
While Mr. Bush scorns deadlines, he kept promising breakthroughs — after elections, after a constitution, after sending in thousands more troops. But those milestones came and went without any progress toward a stable, democratic Iraq or a path for withdrawal. It is frighteningly clear that Mr. Bush’s plan is to stay the course as long as he is president and dump the mess on his successor. Whatever his cause was, it is lost.
The political leaders Washington has backed are incapable of putting national interests ahead of sectarian score settling. The security forces Washington has trained behave more like partisan militias. Additional military forces poured into the Baghdad region have failed to change anything.And of course this has been true from the beginning.
Continuing to sacrifice the lives and limbs of American soldiers is wrong. The war is sapping the strength of the nation’s alliances and its military forces. It is a dangerous diversion from the life-and-death struggle against terrorists. It is an increasing burden on American taxpayers, and it is a betrayal of a world that needs the wise application of American power and principles.I'm sure the friends and families of the dead and wounded wish the Times had done the critical journalism four and half years ago that might have kept us out of this debacle.
Greg Mitchell at Editor and Publisher says the following:
At a critical moment, with Republicans in Congress starting to abandon President Bush on Iraq, The New York Times for its Sunday edition has published what may one day be viewed as a historic editorial.While I see the editorial as too little too late he may be right and it may mark the day the tide really turned.