Sunday, September 25, 2005

Wrong Way in Iraq

Of course, the Bushies will not say it, or even whisper it, but the U.S. is on an exit path. Not only has the U.S. public soured on the war in Iraq, but, more important, the U.S. army simply cannot sustain the Iraq deployment and stand ready to respond to other grave threats elsewhere. This structural constraint keeps the generals up at night.

Thus, a positive vote on the Constitutional referendum in October, followed by the election of a new parliament and government provides the context for the U.S. saying a second time, "mission accomplished". Measured objectively against the objectives elaborated in 2003 and 2004, the U.S. adventure in Iraq has been a failure, but the White House is counting on public inattention and inpatience.

In contrast, in this editorial the Post--a consistent supporter for Mr. Bush's war--is poking at the substance of the draft constitutional and finding that the underpinning of Iraqi "democracy" is weak indeed. The Post is right in this case, but we should not expect a detour from the exit path.

Wrong Way in Iraq:
The only way for Iraq to avoid catastrophe is a political accord among Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis, one that can be based only on the preservation of Iraq as a federal but unified state in which resources and political power are fairly shared and human rights protected. The Bush administration, and Iraqi leaders themselves, ought to be focused on striking that national compromise rather than on prematurely enshrining pieces of paper or adhering to deadlines that were set arbitrarily 18 months ago.

Meantime, the British are reportedly planning to exit in May 2006.

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