Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Trying to Contain the Iraq Disaster

Speaking of plans, there's another decent set of suggestions in a NYTimes editorial today on what could be done to try to right the course in Iraq, "Trying to Contain the Iraq Disaster." Given the Bush record on changing the course, while a number of these suggestions seem worthwhile, they're likely to get little traction with the non-responsive Bush administration. They do help remind the electorate, however, at a crucial time of practical steps that could be taken but are not.

Here are a few of the suggestions, under the heading, "Starting at Home":
For all the talk of timetables for Iraq, there has been little discussion of the timetable that must be handed to George W. Bush. The president cannot leave office with American troops still dying in an Iraq that staggers along just short of civil war, on behalf of no concrete objective other than “get the job done,” which is now Mr. Bush’s rhetorical substitute for “stay the course.” The administration’s current vague talk about behind-the-scenes agreements with Iraqi politicians is next to meaningless. Americans, Iraqis and the rest of the world need clear, public signs of progress.

Mr. Bush can make the first one by firing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. There is no chance of switching strategy as long as he is in control of the Pentagon. The administration’s plans have gone woefully wrong, and while the president is unlikely to admit that, he can send a message by removing Mr. Rumsfeld. It would also be a signal to the military commanders in the field that the administration now wants to hear the truth about what they need, what can be salvaged out of this mess, and what cannot.

The president should also make it clear, once and for all, that the United States will not keep permanent bases in Iraq. The people in Iraq and across the Middle East need a strong sign that the troops are not there to further any American imperial agenda.
Again, another very worthwhile editorial today...