Editorial, U.S. News
By Mortimer B. Zuckerman (Editor-in-Chief)

Our hyperactive president’s walkabouts, radio talks, interviews, conferences on energy, the economy, and obesity-and his recent State of the Union address-find him looking well and speaking well, but rather in the manner of the Wizard of Oz. When the curtain is drawn back on the big flashing pronouncements, the Wizard is revealed not as a powerful magician but someone who can’t even dispossess a wicked witch of her broomstick without the help of a young girl, her little dog, a scarecrow, a toothless lion, and a tin man. (Cast those characters yourself!) The only thing that is melting before the wizard’s eyes is not the wicked witch but the wizard’s own support in the country, in the Congress, and within his own party.

George W. Bush bet his presidency on Iraq. And now he’s betting his party’s future on it. If the new troop “surge” fails, it will destroy the Republicans’ reputation on national security for at least a generation.

The president said, “Nothing is more important at this moment in our history than for America to succeed in the Middle East, to succeed in Iraq.” He’s right. Abandoning Iraq would plunge the country we went to war to save into a grim horror movie. The Iraqi government cannot stop sectarian killing when it is able to call on the world’s most powerful military. Who can expect it to do so if the Americans leave? Indeed, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi professionals-physicians, academics, and the like-have divined the answer and fled to other countries.

As for the “plan” the president proposed, it is, like “democracy,” a mere bromide. Putting 21,500 more troops into Baghdad may well be repeating the error of undercommitment, which doomed Bush’s Iraq venture in the first place. The plan, the president tells us, requires the elected Iraqi government to do things for which it has shown no enthusiasm and, indeed, about which it has been obstructionist. Bush may insist that the weaselly prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, listen. But Maliki has only one ear, it seems-for Moqtada al-Sadr, the firebrand Shiite cleric and sworn foe of America. On CNN last week, Maliki again poured cold water on the Bush plan for Baghdad.

Source: U.S. News — for the full article go to: USNews.com: Mortimer B. Zuckerman: Why We Can’t Leave Iraq

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