Sunday, August 05, 2007

Opinion (Jay Bookman): Iraq cannot be saved, it's time to move on

Above: Soldiers with the 3rd Infantry Division toss leaflets from the door of a helicopter over Arab Jabour in July.

President Bush cannot bring himself to admit — to the country or even to himself — the enormity of the tragedy he has wrought in Iraq. In his mind, victory must still be possible somehow, democracy can still triumph, brutal civil war can still be avoided, if only ...

But there is no "if only ... "

As the president makes painfully clear with every word he utters on the subject, he has nothing to offer except more of what has failed in the past and shows no sign of working in the future. Even if U.S. troops keep fighting and dying in Iraq for another two decades, even if we keep mortgaging our children's future so we can dump hundreds of billions of dollars a year into the effort, we still won't be able to make Iraqis trust each other. We still won't be able to dampen the ancient religious hatreds that have torn that nation apart, and we still won't be able to create a functioning democracy on behalf of people who don't care enough or have faith enough to do it themselves.

However noble such goals might be, they cannot be accomplished by outsiders armed with M16s, no matter how hard and long they fight. The American people now understand that. Their president does not.

And therein lies the problem.

Read the rest at the Journal News