Mission (not) accomplished
160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Now the president is asking for patience for this one last attempt to leave in an orderly way. Any connection between the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and Iraq – always tenuous at best – has been lost, and the pattern of lies, mistakes and miscalculations has forced Bush to replace his entire war team from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on down. The failure to secure the capital city sums up the entire war in Iraq. After four years, the United States has failed to achieve even that, and now Iraqis themselves often look back to the tyranny of Saddam Hussein as a better time than today. It’s quite clear to the president and to the American people that there’s an end in sight to the war. There has to be. It can’t go on. And very likely it’s an end that no one is going to feel very proud of. Probably the best that can be hoped for is to secure Baghdad and broker some sort of end to the civil war and violence – surge or no surge in U.S. troop levels. Bush has one last chance to eke out any victory in Iraq. But he should realize the clock is ticking. There’s only so much patience that the country has left. ON the fourth anniversary of the Iraq war, President George W. Bush finally conceded, albeit obliquely, that the original goal of ushering a Western-style democracy into Iraq was no longer achievable. “At this point in the war, our most important mission is helping the Iraqis secure their capital,” he said in a gloomy speech Monday when he asked Americans to give him some more time to do this one thing before giving up on the chaotic country altogether. The speech was a recognition that the Bush administration’s goals and mission have changed from complete victory to merely finding a way to get out without being accused of cutting and running. It was also a recognition that support for the war is waning sharply among Americans who are tired of the years of fighting that have accomplished nothing quantifiable other than casualty figures and civil war.