They actually paint a fairly persuasive picture in the first few paragraphs by illustrating the undeniable failures and broken promises to date. No one in their right mind, on the right or left, can argue with the fact that "mission accomplished" was the worst moment in Bush presidency to date. They almost had me persuaded.
Then they wrote this:
Americans must be clear that Iraq, and the region around it, could be even bloodier and more chaotic after Americans leave. There could be reprisals against those who worked with American forces, further ethnic cleansing, even genocide. Potentially destabilizing refugee flows could hit Jordan and Syria. Iran and Turkey could be tempted to make power grabs. Perhaps most important, the invasion has created a new stronghold from which terrorist activity could proliferate.Who in their right mind, after reading that, would say "let's roll"? We are supposed to be fighting against destabilization, nor for it. They go on to say:
Despite President Bush’s repeated claims, Al Qaeda had no significant foothold in Iraq before the invasion, which gave it new base camps, new recruits and new prestige.At least they admit AQ is in Iraq. But give them credit, it's true Saddam did not allow AQ inside Iraq (except Ansar al-Islam). He had his own brand of terrorists. Too bad the Times couldn't have reminded us of a few more of their 'mistakes' (they gave a weak mea culpa up front) by bringing back a few quotes from their Pulitzer Prize winning writers such as Thomas Friedman and Judy Miller. Seems Saddam was a worthwhile menace in days gone by.
It's the same ole same ole used by any stock liberal---only AQ can be morally engaged as an enemy because they attacked us on 9/11, while all other terrorists are immune because they didn't attack us on 9/11 even though they attacked us in other places in the past.
This war diverted Pentagon resources from Afghanistan, where the military had a real chance to hunt down Al Qaeda’s leaders. It alienated essential allies in the war against terrorism. It drained the strength and readiness of American troops.Why can't they understand that Afghanistan was no different than Sudan--just a place to train jihadies. It's not a hard concept. The Taliban did not attack on 9/11. Besides, the AQ leadership is not there anymore, having escaped to Pakistan or who knows where long before the Iraq war began. And as to alienating our allies, NATO is on the ground, we've still got international cooperation in Iraq and an active UN resolution. All are arguments made daily on internet message boards and chat rooms, it's just surprising to see the Times actually take an official side.
Any such suggestion of retreat inevitably draws the parallel to Vietnam. Some parallels DO exist between that war and this one with one massive exception--possible outcomes. The downside to leaving Vietnam was watching Communism take over Southeast Asia, which it did. There was no fear the Viet Cong would bother us after we left. The downside of leaving Iraq--which the Times itself points out--is quite different yet it seems to be a trade-off they can live with. A pretty steep price just to win an political/ideological battle, it would seem.
ANOTHER DAY 7/9/07
Another New York Times leak. This time it's about Bush politicos angling the boss for a withdrawal plan to keep the Republican Congressman from falling off the fence. Geez, just this past Friday we got this story from the White House dismissing the wavering as media spin. That means...yes, if the Times is right...that they were spinning about the spinning. Unless the Times is just spinning to set up Waxman's new round of hearings, which are largely spin.