Tuesday, February 20, 2007

was this war in Iraq a mistake? a letter to Congress

Was this war in Iraq a mistake? Or was it just plain wrong? I believe we'll be splitting hairs over incompetence and wrongheadedness for a long time.

Meanwhile the Administration apppears to be conducting a slow bleed offensive against the obvious. If the White House or Congress could present a substantive reason to believe the President's surge will be saving lives and creating stability a week after US forces leave Baghdad and Anbar, we might be more resolute about sending additional young men and women, underfunded and lacking training and equipment (and facing an ineffective and hostile bureaucracy should they return home wounded) -- but none of us believes there is any such evidence. Everyone knows the game changes the moment the door closes behind us.

I don't believe there is a decent solution to this bloody conundrum. At this point all the solutions appear indecent. It's going to be relentlessly bad no matter what. The only question is, What kind of bad? The US government and the citizens it represents will be making amends for decades to come.

Our nation failed in this adventure. Whether through foolishness or hubris or overreaching or yet-to-be-revealed moral turpitude or some combination of all these (seasoned with ambition, tunnel vision, ass-covering and God knows what), will take time to sort out. We are lost in the woods. Look it in the face. Retrace your steps. Find your way back. Deal with it now.

TODAY, we call on you, our elected officials, to pursue the hard work of cleaning up as well as you can; ending further loss of life insofar as it is in your control; seeking genuine reconciliation among the parties insofar as that is in your control; voting across party lines wherever that is necessary to promote policies that tend to restore equilibrium and a return to sanity.

Do this as if your next campaign depended on it for it almost certainly does.

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