Asking the impossible
The BooMan gives the most concise and to the point analysis of Bush's grand fuckup that I have read in some time. First there is the reason why we can't simply pull out:
I notice this dovetails with a CIA study that was reported on this week in the New York Times. And it is probably true that pulling out of Iraq will leave behind a trained force of terrorists filled with a belief that Allah has given them a great victory.
But the real risk in Iraq is that an implosion of their society could draw in neighboring countries, it could result in ethnic and sectarian cleansing. And it could be disruptive to the energy sector of the world economy.
But, as bad as pulling out would be, Bush's "stay the course" approach is equally doomed to failure. A much more radical approach is needed, one so radical that there is no way that Bush will ever do it: he has to admit he made a mistake and he has to buy cooperation from Democrats and the Europeans by giving up on certain key elements of his agenda. It's hard to know which will be more impossible for him to do.
I know it's difficult to admit mistakes, and it's even harder to ask for help from your political enemies. But that is what Bush needs to do.
First, he needs to admit that he miscalculated how the Iraqis would feel about being liberated and occupied by the United States. Then he needs to explain what the humanitarian and economic risks are if Iraq becomes a failed state, and a regional battlefield. Then he needs to ask for help.
And since he has burned his bridges with both the American left, and with our European allies, he needs to offer us both something in return for our willingness to step in and try to clean up his mess.
The choice is Bush's. Which does he consider more important: (1) fixing the problems in Iraq and securing us from the danger it represents or (2) giving up his public image of infallibity.
Please Mr. President. We want to help you. We want our future to be secure. We want to wake up in a world where we no longer dread what may happen today.
But we can't give you our help if you won't ask for it.