More patience in judging Iraq? Gimme a break

A recent article in the New York Times states “The top commanders in Iraq and the American ambassador to Baghdad…[are appealing] for more time, both to allow for success on the ground and to more fully assess if the new strategy is making gains.”

Sure. Just what we need. More time for Iraq to sink even lower as a disaster than it already is.

As far as I can tell, what President Bush really wants is enough extra time so that he can leave office before any hard decisions about troop withdrawals are implemented, thereby hopefully transferring the “blame” for the consequences of any such withdrawal to his successor. It’s a cynical plan that ignores the needless deaths and injuries that will occur while Bush attempts to figure out a safe exit strategy for himself.

It also shows that, even at this late date, Bush refuses to consider the idea that some sort of troop withdrawal may actually be the right decision. Nope. Once Bush starts down a road, changing directions means admitting error. And Bush the Infallible can make no errors.

Even ignoring all this, the larger question is: When do we stop playing this “give us more time” game? What if (as I believe is likely) staying the course for another year means that the Iraq situation gets worse, not better? And what if the generals continue to ask for more time to “turn it around”? Do we still give it to them?

At some point we need the courage to say: “No, you’ve had more than enough time. You’ve had years. If you haven’t shown sufficient progress by now, an extra few months isn’t going to change things. It’s time to take a new direction.”

I believe that time is now.

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