What is *our* policy in Iraq?
- From: "Reality Check" <e@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: 15 Aug 2006 13:41:35 -0700
EDITORIAL: What's Next for America in Iraq?
Category: International Headlines, Source: Erie Times-News
Published: 8/15/2006 (Received: 8/15/2006 3:49:00 PM EST)
By Erie Times-News, Pa.
Aug. 15--Iraq makes you want to cry. Every day, with every tragedy,
every death, every senseless suicide bombing, roadside slaying and mass
kidnapping. Car bombs and a rocket barrage struck a crowded,
predominantly Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad Sunday, killing at least
62 people and wounding 140. This, after another suicide bomber killed
35 people at a Shiite shrine, the Imman Ali mosque. And three more
American soldiers were killed over the weekend.
The carnage, violence and mayhem have gone on so long, as this war
approaches the three-and-a-half-year mark, it no longer seems relevant
to look for somebody to blame. Instead, the United States needs a
solution, because it is now clear that the Bush administration's
"America will stand down when Iraqis stand up" strategy is not working.
This fact was emphasized when 4,000 additional American troops were
sent into Baghdad in the latest attempt to pacify the violent Iraqi
capital. Which raises an obvious question: Where is all this heading?
Stale, meaningless terms like "stay the course" are hardly credible
foundations for a coherent American policy in Iraq. More and more
Americans, with more and more justification, are simply asking, "Stay
the course to what?"
At least now, President Bush, his administration and top American
generals are finally acknowledging that those promised good days
Americans have been hearing about are probably not around the corner in
Back on Aug. 3 -- in what might become regarded as a historic moment in
the Iraq conflict -- two senior American generals offered some unusual
candor and realism when questioned by the Senate Armed Services
Committee. After 12 days, the two generals haven't been repudiated by
either the White House or the Pentagon.
This is significant. It perhaps signals that Bush and administration
officials are done trying to spin what is happening in Iraq into
anything other than a colossal, self-inflicted, deadly mess.
What Army Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. Forces in the Middle
East, and Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, said wasn't anything Americans haven't seen every
evening on their televisions. Yes, the two generals acknowledged, Iraq
is the scene of deadly sectarian violence, that is, as Abizaid
observed, "as bad as I've seen it," and could very well lead to
full-scale civil war.
So there it sits. Facts are facts. There is an ongoing conflict in
Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas that has entered a
tense cease-fire. Hezbollah's state supporters are in Syria and Iran.
Between the two -- nations that the Bush administration justifiably
calls rogue states -- are 130,000 American troops.
American troops are fighting, watching and waiting as that sectarian
violence and civil conflict Abizaid and Pace talked about swirl around
them on the ground in Iraq. You don't need to be a West Point graduate
to understand this is not a secure position for American troops.
"Stay the course.""Stand down when Iraqis stand up." These pedestrian
phrases simply can't be the Bush administration's policy on Iraq, can
they? So what is the policy? And where does it go from here?
To see more of the Erie Times-News, or to subscribe to the newspaper,
go to http://www.GoErie.com.
Copyright (c) 2006, Erie Times-News, Pa.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.
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