Few Editorials Mark 4th Anniversary of Start of War — But Some Call for a U.S. Pullout

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By: E&P Staff

Surprisingly few newspaper editorial pages on Sunday and Monday marked the fourth anniversary of the U.S. attack on Iraq. Some merely offered the same cries of frustration that have appeared in editorials for more than three years calling for “one last chance” at getting it right. But a handful seem to have reached the end of their patience and are calling for a U.S. pullout.

We will log some of the responses here during the coming day. Here’s what some have said so far.

— As noted in a previous E&P article, The Washington Post accepted blame for helping to ease the U.S. into the war but said it continued to support our open-ended presence in Iraq. The Los Angeles Times and New York Times did not offer new general statements on the war.

— The Ventura County (Ca.) Star, on the other hand, wants out now, declaring that “shock and awe” has become just “shock.” It concluded: “More Iraqi and American casualties in 2007 and beyond will bring us no closer to a harvest of democracy in Iraq. The war has brought less, not more, security to the region. We have stayed too long already.

“Americans can continue to provide training, and financial and diplomatic support to Iraqis. We have shed enough blood.”

— The Toledo (Ohio) Blade said much the same: “The failure of Congress to pass decisive legislation to limit the Iraq war reflects more closely the personal and political interests of its individual members than the will of the American people.

“It is clear that the great majority of Americans are ready to see the Iraq war draw to an end….But Congress either doesn’t get it or doesn’t have the courage to bring the matter to an end. The way to do that is perfectly obvious, and it’s the same means Congress used to bring the Vietnam War to an end: Cut off the money to fight it.

“Instead, lawmakers are letting themselves be distracted by the fallacious argument that to support the troops, the Congress has to provide whatever money President Bush demands. This time it is a supplemental appropriation of some $125 billion, on top of the administration’s regular budget proposal of nearly $500 billion in spending on the military. Congress, and particularly the Senate’s gallery of presidential candidates, needs to stop the relentless campaign preening and bring this pointless war to an end.”

–The Daytona Beach (Fla.) News Journal: “There isn’t a neat solution Americans can embrace — no conditional occupation that Iraqis will accommodate, no withdrawal with honor, not even a peace negotiated under American aegis. The objective, in any case, can no longer afford to be illusory. Democracy won’t work for now. American policing isn’t working. But the killing must stop. The American presence is contributing to the killing. Would withdrawal make it worse? No one knows the answer to that question as much as we know what is happening as long as Americans remain.

“Americans should withdraw and let Arabs and Iranians deal with the next step.”

— The Detroit News, which supported the “surge” in Iraq, continues to back a strong effort, for now: “Our expectation is for the administration to do everything necessary to achieve whatever it is that will constitute a victory in Iraq, in a very short time, and then get out. The nation will not tolerate the marking of a fifth anniversary in Iraq with no discernible progress toward completing the mission.”

–The North County (Ca.) Times backed the partioning of Iraq: “A divided Iraq might even redeem the sacrifice in blood and treasure we’ve made, though we’ve unequally distributed that burden among today’s military families and tomorrow’s taxpayers. At the very least, a divided Iraq might have a chance.”

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