Let's review why 140,000 U.S. service members are currently in harm's way in Iraq today. The Bush Administration persuaded the Congress and a substantial portion of the American public that Saddam Hussein's Iraq was a threat to the national security of the United States. It was dubious from the beginning and proved not to be true. Nevertheless, we invaded and we currently occupy Iraq.
Today the Bush Administration is telling us that U.S. troops must continue to occupy Iraq because if we pulled them out, the government that the Bush Administration has installed to do our bidding, will collapse and Iraq will become a 'launching pad' for terrorists' attacks against the United States.
Should we be swayed by this reasoning? Never mind that this fear-laden rationale is coming from the same discredited leadership that convinced the masses in 2003 that Iraq was a threat to the national security of the United States. Is this current scenario a credible threat? Would Iraq indeed become the worst, bleakest, darkest nightmare that you could possibly imagine, if the U.S. were to pull out our troops tomorrow?
Let's look at the issue from a different angle. What guarantees do we have that if we do 'stay the course', that the wobbly Iraqi house of cards won't collapse?
What are Las Vegas' odds that the current Iraqi government is going to survive? I would wager that it's going down. Why? Two reasons: It is corrupt (e.g., $800 million of Iraq's defense funds just walked away); and because the Iraqi government is perceived by its citizens and its neighbors to be a dupe and a lackey of Uncle Sam. So whether the U.S. pulls out of Iraq tomorrow, next week, next year, or the day before the inauguration of the new U.S. president in January 2009, the end result will likely be the same. The Iraqi government is toast.
So if that is indeed the future, why should we remain in Iraq even one more hour? The answer is simple. We shouldn't. But the political reality is the Bush Administration is too prideful to admit failure. The President keeps on saying that the goal is nothing less than "victory." He maintains that if (he or) the U.S. were to admit failure and pull out of Iraq, the terrorists would use the "victory" over the world's only superpower, as a recruiting tool and be emboldened to wage further terrorist campaigns against the U.S.
But hold on. The initial rationale for the U.S. invasion of Iraq was that Iraq was a threat to U.S. security? The new canard - as to why the U.S. must keep its armed forces in Iraq - is that Iraq would become an even greater threat to U.S. national security. That's right. It is running the same play: a strategy of fear and false pretenses to hoodwink the U.S. into staying in Iraq....until the war on terror ~ is won.
The truth is the Bush Administration has been discredited and is no longer fit to lead the country. For a myriad of reasons, they are not able or willing to extricate us from the Iraq quagmire. It looks bleak for our armed forces. Bush's promised new "tactics" will not resolve the fundamental issues we face in Iraq. The Administration's core strategy and neo-conservative driven policies are flawed. Sadly, the arrogance of the Bush team makes it highly unlikely that the Administration will seriously consider any recommendations that may emerge from James Baker's efforts, no matter how cogent and rationale they are likely to be.
America's unnecessary and feckless foray into Iraq is destined to come to a sad and ignominious conclusion, mercifully, sooner rather than later. The only course of action left for the U.S. citizenry is to vote in unabashedly anti-war Democrats to Congress this November in the hope that a reconstituted and morally enlightened Legislature will use Congress' funding power and oversight to restrain this Administration's foolhardy bloodlust and bring our men and women in uniform home.