Mr. Nasty, Brutish and Short-Tempered - New York Times: "To put it in a nutshell: It is not time for the U.S. to leave Iraq, but it is time for the U.S. to start threatening to leave Iraq.
When Iraq was just violent, but the political situation seemed to be stumbling forward, it was possible to believe that a decent outcome could still be achieved. But when Iraq is increasingly violent, with ethnic and religious rivals murdering one another and the politicians squabbling endlessly, there is no reason for optimism. U.S. forces in Iraq can't be held hostage by the notion that Iraqis may have a civil war if we leave. They are already having a little civil war, and if they are determined to have a big civil war, I prefer that they have it without us. But we need to make one last big push to find an alternative.
The Bush team needs to stop telling itself that the news media are not reporting the good news in Iraq. That's utter nonsense. And it needs to stop acting like a spectator as events there unfold, with the secretaries of state and defense making one-day stopovers and then disappearing. It is time for this administration to start taking responsibility for the outcome of this war, and not just dump it all on the military.
There is no military solution. There is only a political solution, and it will require some big-time diplomacy to pull off."