By: E&P Staff
Few newspapers have called for the start of a U.S. withdrawal in Iraq until recently, and many of those that did opposed President Bush in his re-election bid in 2004.
Not so in the case this week of the Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, which endorsed the GOP candidate in 2004 but now writes: “President Bush must face reality: It’s time for a different strategy in Iraq, one that acknowledges America’s limited power to determine Iraq’s future….
“Bush needs to chart a course that brings many of our troops home and redeploys others to fight in a more effective way in the war on terror.”
Here is an excerpt from that editorial.
Most observers agree that the surge of U.S. troops has failed so far to make a decisive difference in Iraq’s chaotic civil war. There simply aren’t enough troops. And Iraqi security forces have proved inadequate to the task.
Despite some progress in reducing sectarian violence, the past weekend’s devastating bombings — some of the bloodiest of the war — showed that we face a potent and adaptable enemy.
Many Americans, including members of The Eagle editorial board, wanted to give the surge a chance to work.
Bush argued in January that the surge would give the Iraqi government breathing space to accomplish key goals, such as holding provisional elections and agreeing on power-sharing arrangements. But the Iraqi leaders have failed to meet any of those benchmarks — nor do they seem willing to do the hard work and compromise needed to achieve them.
American leaders must now focus on how to draw down U.S. troops and prepare for an eventual withdrawal, as outlined last year by the Iraq Study Group.
Could a drawdown be dangerous? Yes. A too-precipitous withdrawal of U.S. troops could leave a security vacuum and invite even worse regional chaos.
But America cannot prosecute an open-ended war without achievable goals and without the support of the American people. In recent weeks, several key Republicans, including Sens. Richard Lugar of Indiana and Pete Domenici of New Mexico, have publicly expressed their loss of confidence in Bush’s strategy…
The president last week asked the country for “patience” and more sacrifice on Iraq. But he’s gone to the well too often, without delivering results. America’s patience has worn thin on a mission that seems to chase ever-changing, unrealistic goals.
The sacrifices are all too real and painful.
Bush needs to chart a course that brings many of our troops home and redeploys others to fight in a more effective way in the war on terror.