American Proscenium

Free to Leave

The Iraqis have voted.  Now, it is time to start bringing home America’s troops.

More than 1,400 Americans had died, and nearly 11,000 had been wounded, by the end of January.  The war has already cost $200 billion, and the President is asking for another $80 billion.

Yet President George W. Bush refuses to set any timetables.  The Pentagon expects to keep 120,000 personnel in Iraq through 2006.  Some analysts talk of staying for years.

America’s dead “have made the ultimate sacrifice defending freedom,” said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.  Sadly, however, we know that the war was a mistake, fought on grounds that turned out to be false.

The foundation of the Bush administration’s case for war was Iraq’s presumed WMD arsenal.  But Saddam Hussein’s government possessed no such weapons and posed no serious threat to America.  Rather than admit error when its WMD claims proved false, the administration seamlessly switched rationales.  Although the removal of Saddam Hussein from power was welcome, sacrificing American lives to “promote democracy” was always a dubious justification.  Unfortunately, the administration demonstrated both arrogance and incompetence while implementing its occupation policy.

After losing ground for months, White House officials looked hopefully toward the planned...

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