Editorial – New Way Backward

Sending 21,500 more Americans to the hell that has become Iraq will not, as many point out, including the sidelined Iraq Study Group, end the ongoing death and mayhem there.

“A hard and violent year” is how the White House sees the coming 12 months, almost four years after that now-infamous Mission Accomplished victory charade by President George W. Bush aboard an aircraft carrier in the wake of the 2003-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, who from his gallows-sent grave continues to spark fury.

Adding thousands more troops now – after over 3,000 American and other coalition troops have been killed in warfare and tens of thousands of Iraqis maimed and killed – into what most people believe is a civil war situation fueled by terrorist elements from the region is akin to putting a Band-Aid on a spurting artery: the root cause of the problem needs to be clamped.

Go-it-alone Bush, in a speech on Wednesday night announcing the deployment of more troops (fresh, they cannot be called, as many are jaded and will be entering their third tour of duty in Iraq), proclaimed a beefed-up American presence in Iraq as a new way forward. At this late stage in the game, it is anything but, and it is hoped that the House-controlling Democrats will make good on their word and hold what they term a “freewheeling” president to account over his continually failing Iraq policies.

For Bush and key war allies such as Britain’s Tony Blair, the never-ending Iraq war is a noose around their necks they wish they could cast off before they plunge through the trap door – and over recent months we have indeed seen the political deaths of both Bush and Blair, the former’s Republican Party losing control of both houses of congress in November over widespread voter dissatisfaction regarding the events in Iraq and his approval ratings at historic lows, the latter almost politically impotent as he is forced to leave office later this year, sooner than he wanted.

Both men, mortally wounded, are limping towards the end.

If there’s a message in all of this – and there are many – it is never underestimate the voter. The 2003 Iraq invasion was sold on what have long since turned out to be wild fabrications; thousands are dead; trillions of dollars have been spent; there is no way out. It is the very democracy that Bush et al claimed to instill in a post-Saddam Iraq that has come back to bite them with such vengeance, and in his remaining short years, Bush alone would do well to heed at least some of the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group and try, at least via back-room diplomatic channels, to talk to the warring Shia and Sunni factions and attempt to form a consensus on the way forward for this imploding nation and how best to battle the Al Qaeda-type opportunists who are flocking into the country to battle their arch enemy, the United States.

Bees to honey. More honey, more bees.

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