Monday, July 16, 2007

Opinion (Max Hastings): How many more must die in Iraq to indulge George Bush?

Above: Two funerals, worlds apart, took place last Friday. Both were victims of the ongoing violence in Iraq.

What if your neighbour suddenly announced that he had spotted fairies at the bottom of the garden, or thought he was about to give birth to an elephant? You would feel sympathy for his loved ones, and maybe suggest that he changed his sleeping tablets. There are lots of such people about the place, harmless and indeed often rather sweet.

But when America's President, leader of the free world, displays the same symptoms, we are entitled to take fright. On Thursday, George Bush gave a press conference at the White House, during which he asserted that the United States 'can succeed in Iraq'.

He restated his rejection of demands for withdrawal. Pulling troops out, he said, would mean 'surrendering the future of Iraq to Al Qaeda'. If American forces quit the country now, it would mean they would have to return later, 'to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous'.

In short, Bush remains in absolute denial about a reality which is apparent to most politicians and almost all senior soldiers on both sides of the Atlantic.

Read the rest at the Daily Mail