In the last Democratic debate, there was a particularly tense moment when Tim Russert asked each candidate: "If ...the Americans get out (of Iraq) totally, and al Qaeda resurges and Iraq goes to hell, do you hold the right, in your mind as American president, to re-invade, to go back into Iraq to stabilize it?"
That certainly was a big question, all right.
Like deer in the headlights, Obama and Clinton stared for a moment at Mr. Russert, and each declared the question" hypothetical" at best.. They then tried to come up with an answer that might be at once credible, leaderly and vague. " Of course," each would keep open the possibility of defending America's interests. But they didn't say what they would do with the inevitable blood bath, which will spill all over the country when the foreign forces leave.
The moment was quietly distressing for those of us watching on the couch, here at home. I turned blankly to my wife who stared at me as we both saw the vision of Iraq descending into a chaotic hell like that of post-Soviet invasion Afghanistan. This was the deep question which, unanswered, keeps us mired in this unwinnable war. It was a question that will take a lot of guts to find a moral answer.
We have caused so much damage to the country that now we must collectively face the music as to the final implications of our failed policy.
We have to figure out what will be done to deal with frightening and miserable conditions for every innocent civilian left in Iraq. How do we save them from yet another failed state, coping with the