I've been wavering over when the United States needs to ramp down its presence in Iraq. Although we both opposed the war, my husband Bruce and I both have leaned toward the "we broke it, we bought it" view that we can't pull troops out too quickly and let the nation devolve into further chaos and likely civil war. But I am starting to believe that everyone might be better served by a definite U.S. timetable of withdrawal that starts bringing our people home - and insists on more Iraqi management and participation - within months, not years.
The photo by the AP's Khalid Mohammed from Page 1 of today's Idaho Statesman (and many other papers) confirms this. How can anyone see this photo - taken yesterday at the site where 27 people -mostly children - were killed in a Baghdad suicide bombing - and not realize the mess we've made and the moral imperative we must face? Americans aren't conducting these bombing missions, of course, but our continued presence fuels the insurgency and can only lead to more scenes of carnage like this.
Of course, changing course and making definite plans for a post-occupation Iraq runs counter to the Bush mindset. The president could take a cue from John Kerry's version of the speech he should have given two weeks ago, or he could listen to Sarah Vowell, who wishes we'd once again witness a president willing to give us a good scold and prescribe bold action. But Bush is preoccupied with seeking SupCo advice from Jerry Falwell and defending the indefensible Karl Rove. Meanwhile, the anguish that is Iraq goes on and on, with no end in sight.