Sunday, February 11, 2007

It's the time of the season

From the Let's Stop Beating Around The Bush Department, in Newsweek today, we have Anna Quindlen's editorial:
Tomorrow. That's when the United States should begin to bring combat forces home from Iraq. Today would be a better option, but already it's tomorrow in Baghdad, in the Green Zone fortress Americans have built in the center of the city, out in the streets where IEDs are lying in wait for passing soldiers and every marketplace may be the endgame for a suicide bomber.

The course of this war has been a consistent scene of carnage with ever-changing underpinnings. Uncover weapons of mass destruction, lay hands on Saddam Hussein, oversee elections, teach the Iraqis to police themselves. Bring stability to the region. The last has been an illusion. Over the last year many Americans have finally realized how thoroughly they were sold a bill of goods. The picture of the peaceable kingdom painted by the Bush administration nearly four years ago was that of a country, riven by religious and ethnic violence for centuries, suddenly turned into the equivalent of a Connecticut suburb: town meetings, friendly neighbors, a common purpose, perhaps a shopping mall.

Nearly four years of photographs and footage of dusty corpses, cinderblock barriers, shredded cars and bereaved families, and the absurdity of that view is absolute.

No one tries to sell that snake oil anymore. Now the party line is that American forces will get out, but they cannot get out now. They cannot get out now because Iraq would become a place of civil war, of untrammeled violence, of complete chaos.

Iraq has been a place of civil war, untrammeled violence, complete chaos for a long time now. American intervention has not made that better. It has made it worse.

Get out now. Provide plenty of consultants to organize police forces and help with reconstruction. Persuade the Iraqi government, such as it is, to ask for peacekeeping assistance from other nations. Put the arm on allies in the Middle East to participate for the sake of stability in the region. Recognize that much of this is about access to oil, and negotiate accordingly while trying to persuade Americans to go to rehab for their fossil-fuel addiction.

She has more to say, go read the rest.