The New York Times comes to an obvious conclusion about 3 years too late, nonetheless, it is a significant step.
Although the Time’s editorial page has strongly criticized the President’s policies over many months, this is an important watershed for America’s paper of record, and I urge everyone to read the full editorial. Editorial boards across the country are probably struggling with the same issue and are now more likely to follow the Times’ lead. Moreover, the Times’ statement comes just as we receive more tragic news from Iraq and just before Congressional Democrats are set to reintroduce Iraq withdrawal proposals and court wavering Republicans.
The fundamental flaw in the NYT article lies in the assumption that the Bush and Cheney leadership are not only open to such a suggestion, but are competent to carry out what will be a very delicate operation.
The reason the Iraq catastrophe is called a “quagmire” is because there are no simple or good options for getting out or staying in. Any withdrawal strategy is as fraught with risks as staying. Fashioning a plan that can extract America from its greatest foreign policy blunder ever will require the wisest, most honest and insightful leadership this country can muster. But does anyone seriously believe these qualities reside in the Bush White House?
We’re expecting the people who arrogantly blundered into this disaster, lied about it and continue to be in denial about the mess they’ve made to lead the way out? Do we trust this President’s judgment in making strategic choices, or his honesty in laying out the consequences to the American people? Does anyone seriously believe Dick Cheney would do anything but make matters worse, lie about it, and cover up his behind the scenes manipulations? Is there any reason to have confidence in Condoleeza “no one could have anticipated” Rice, or National Security Advisor Hadley (Cheney’s mole) — or the belligerent (pardon me) neocon in charge of Middle East policy at State, a team whose list of failures now includes destabilizing Lebanon and dismembering Gaza, not to mention strengthening Iran’s strategic position and exacerbating conditions that could lead to regional Sunni vs Shia conflict? This crew has brought havoc wherever they’ve gone.
Even if the President nominally accepted the need for policy change as a result of increasing pressure from his own Party, there is no basis for trusting this President’s word, nor any basis for trusting the competence of his execution even if, through some miracle, he sincerely embraced change. And there can be no doubt whatsoever that Vice President Cheney and his minions throughout the national security apparatus would do everything they could to undermine, sabotage and reverse the new strategy.