Food For Thought
Always a good read, Frank Rich has a good wrap-up including the domestic US political developments of the past week. He argues that the date for US withdrawal from Iraq has already been set by the US public, and it is Election Day 2006.
The main gist of Rich's argument is this:
One hideous consequence of the White House's Big Lie - fusing the war of choice in Iraq with the war of necessity that began on 9/11 - is that the public, having rejected one, automatically rejects the other.Hmmn. There is some truth in that, but it bears more thought.
For one thing, there is another forgotten war still underway - the war in Afghanistan which, unlike Iraq, was launched with international agreement for valid reasons and genuinely DID have the potential to transform the Middle East by setting up a shining example of Western benevolence. Of course, that short-lived benevolence has been shown up as a fraud - most Westerners simply DO NOT CARE about Third World suffering, so once the Taliban were removed we lost interest.
For another thing, there is an important parallel between the war in Iraq and the alleged war on "terror" which should not be overlooked - in both cases, the key to anything called "winning" will be Arab hearts and minds. But nobody in the USA seems to be even prepared to discuss that aspect of things at this stage, more's the pity.
Another item of note from Rich's column:
A USA Today/CNN/Gallup survey last week found that the percentage (52) of Americans who want to get out of Iraq fast, in 12 months or less, is even larger than the percentage (48) that favored a quick withdrawal from Vietnam when that war's casualty toll neared 54,000 in the apocalyptic year of 1970.