Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Iraq and deadlines

Here's a link to the editorial the Register ran today on the House and Senate approving bills to fund the war but set deadlines (non-mandatory in the Senate version) for the troops to come home. Of course President Bush has vowed to veto any measure that comes to him with an "artificial deadline," and neither house has the votes to override. Still, it's healthy that the bills have passed. We're frankly puzzled at the idea of equating deadlines with defeatism. There will be costs to withdrawing soon (perhaps including a period of bloodletting in Iraq) but there are costs to staying, and if the likelihood of achieving success (however defined) is low, those costs, including the lives lost, will be spent in vain.

People have complained that the Democrats have frittered rather than seizing on their mandate to end the war. But thecountry is not all that united behind the desire to end the war right away, and the confused politicking in Congress reflects this. Even so, what has been passed was tougher than what was proposed in the first days of the new Congress, and there will be other ways to express discontent with the war. Politics is messy and imprecise. Eventually, however, a rough approximation of what the people want (which is still evolving) will come close to prevailing.

I suspect the U.S. will be in Iraq until the end of the Bush presidency, unless he relents to save the Republican Party. But I suspect this unreflective man values his own legacy more than he cares for the party, and stubbornly believes it's tied up with being "tough" internationally. Too bad the country has to suffer from a desire that may well stem from personal insecurity.

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