By: E&P Staff
Last week’s Iraq Study Group recommendations are being hit from all sides, by those who claim they go too far — or don’t go nearly far enough. Among those now weighing in with the latter view is legendary war reporter Joe Galloway.
In his most recent syndicated column, Galloway concludes, “There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there’s only one way to leave Iraq: Load our people up on their trucks and tank transporters and Bradleys and Humvees and head for the border. Now.”
He tells E&P today: “That was the 187th consecutive weekly column, and the one i knew was inevitably coming from the very beginning. God help us and protect our troops.”
Galloway, who has been a persistent critic of the war for three years and early on called for the firing of Donald Rusmfeld, retired earlier this year from Knight Ridder but continues his weekly column for McClatchy and others. He has covered more than half a dozen wars, from Vietnam to Iraq, with distinction, and co-authored the book, “We Were Soldiers Once…and Young” (he is now penning a sequel).
A new CBS Poll released late Monday found approval of President Bush’s handling of Iraq dropping from 29% to 21%. Support for his Iraq policy plunged among Republicans from 70% to 47% in less than a month.
Those who call the war a “mistake” now stands at 62% — one percent higher than the number who labeled the U.S. involvement in Vietnam a mistake in 1971. U.S. combat missions there continued for two years after that.
An excerpt from Galloway’s column follows.
All the politicians paid the customary lip service in praising the troops and commending them for the terrible sacrifices they must continue to endure while the wrangling and dithering over a futile war goes on with no end in sight.
How can they look at themselves in the mirror every morning?
Some even suggest sending additional U.S. forces to Iraq — 20,000 to 30,000 more to try to clean up Baghdad, or as Sen. John McCain suggests, 100,000 more to achieve a victory of some kind.
What are they thinking?
The time to use overwhelming force, according to the Caspar Weinberger-Colin Powell doctrine, is when you launch an invasion. Ratcheting up later is just so 1965, and so hopeless a gesture when the situation has already gone to hell.
Let’s get a few more things straight right now.
There’s no victory waiting for President Bush in Iraq, and nothing that his father’s friends say or do can save him from an ignominious end to his presidency in two years and two months, or from the judgment of history.
There will be no convenient and successful negotiation of a “decent interval” with our enemies Iran and Syria to cover our withdrawal from a war that we should never have started.
There can be no successful Vietnamization in Iraq — standing up more and better Iraqi army and police units and handing control over to them — when all we’re doing is arming and training more recruits for the civil war that clogs the streets of Baghdad with the corpses of the victims of a Sunni-Shia bloodbath.
What we need to do is what none of the commissions and their reports dared to suggest: Begin withdrawing American forces from Iraq right now. Not in 2008. Not after the American death toll has crossed 5,000. Not just in time for a presidential election.
If you worry about the future of Iraq, don’t. It will remain what it’s always been: a violent, angry land of warring tribes only occasionally beaten and bludgeoned into submission by a homegrown despot like Saddam Hussein.
If you worry about added turmoil and instability in the Middle East, pull some of those departing American forces back to Kuwait and leave them there on standby. Then redirect thought, energy and effort into salvaging Afghanistan, finding Osama bin Laden, saving Lebanon, negotiating peace between Israel and its enemies, rebuilding the U.S. Army and Marine Corps and, oh yes, ending the uncivil war between Republicans and Democrats.
There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there’s only one way to leave Iraq: Load our people up on their trucks and tank transporters and Bradleys and Humvees and head for the border. Now.
Related E&P column by Greg Mitchell: The Last Soldier To Die for A Mistake