By Manifesto Joe
There comes a time when it makes sense for people to wake up and recognize when they have either led the way, or have been led, into a giant pile of shit. There have been a lot of wake-up calls about the Iraq war for years, but Wednesday should have been the day everybody knew at last how high the excrement was heaped. This from The New York Times:
"BAGHDAD, Aug. 1 Iraq's largest Sunni political faction resigned from Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki's cabinet on Wednesday, severely weakening the government's credentials as a national unity coalition and setting back hopes of reconciliation.
"The move was accompanied by a wave of bombings in Baghdad that killed at least 76 people, including a suicide attack with a fuel tanker that killed about 50 people at a crowded gas station in the middle-class district of Mansour.
"The Sunni Arab bloc's withdrawal, announced at the beginning of a monthlong break by Parliament, is another serious blow to hopes that Iraq's feuding political parties could pass legislation sought by Congress as evidence of progress by Sept. 15.
"That is the date on which Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commander of American forces in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker will present their official assessment in Washington. Although Mr. Maliki's Shiite-dominated coalition still retains a parliamentary majority, most analysts believe that any legislation on matters of reconciliation passed without the backing of the main Sunni bloc, the Iraqi Consensus Front, would be virtually meaningless."
I'm sure we're just going to hear a lot more "stay the course" rhetoric for months. But it's time to face it, this thing is over. The current policy is just ensuring more deaths, more maimed and disfigured people, and more regional instability for decades.
This is a different kind of war, one in which it is perhaps more dangerous to be a civilian than a combatant. Reuters reported Wednesday: "The Iraqi government said 1,653 civilians were killed in July, a third more than the previous month, despite a fall in the number of deaths among U.S. troops."
It's no easy thing to withdraw a large military force from a war zone, but we'd better start soon. Congress needs to confront the Bush "administration" again right away, upon return from August recess. The continued U.S. military presence is only exacerbating the situation; and the action was, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said, "a grotesque mistake" from the beginning.
There isn't going to be any neat, clean way out of this. But the first step is in the direction where there aren't any hills of manure. Leave the cleanup for later.
Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.