Declare Victory and Come Home

Robin Wright and Ellen Knickmeyer entitled their article U.S. Lowers Sights On What Can Be Achieved in Iraq:

The Bush administration is significantly lowering expectations of what can be achieved in Iraq, recognizing that the United States will have to settle for far less progress than originally envisioned during the transition due to end in four months, according to U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad. The United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges, U.S. officials say. “What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground,” said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. “We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we’re in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning.”

As I read this article, I cannot help but think of the disaster we Americans created during the Vietnam War. Don’t get me wrong. While I marched in support of bringing our brave soldiers home during the early 1970’s, I’m sort of a Howard Dean type on the Iraq disaster. Before the stupid, stupid, stupid decision on March 19, 2003 – I was very opposed to invading Iraq as I listened to our generals who were trying to convince President Bush that invading Iraq was a gift to bin Laden.

Since the fall of the tyrant known as Saddam Hussein (who had zip to do with 9/11), Howard Dean has argued we must finish what we started – or else give a bigger gift to bin Laden. President Bush done in Crawford seemed to be saying he agreed with this sentiment. But Bush has two habits: (1) say one thing and then another; and (2) do whatever is politically expedient at the time regardless of the horrific long-term consequences to the interests of the American people.

“Declare Victory and Come Home” was one of my favorite blurbs some 35 years ago. Today, it would be an incredibly stupid thing to do – unless your only agenda was a Rovian GOP victory in 2006. Why do I sense that our worst nightmare is being designed right now in the White House?