How Much Longer in Iraq?


More than four years and $400 billion later, the superhawks on Iraq are calling for more of the same. Forget a political solution, a move even generals on the scene see as the real solution.

Whom are we saving Iraq for? The professionals have fled the country because they have the money to leave. The Shiites and the Sunnis continue to kill one another off day after day. The government is tenuous at best.

Yet the head-in-the-sand warmongers like Frederick Kagan at the American Enterprise Institute are convinced the war can be won.

This is what Kagan, the proud architect of the latest "surge," told the Washington Post: "There has been a dramatic decrease in sectarian violence; the situation in Anbar province and within the Sunni community in general has been transformed; the Maliki government has been incredibly supportive of efforts to go after Shia militiamen. But it's going to be a long, hard slog."

It has already been far too long.

The armchair generals who want to prolong this sectarian war with still more American blood and treasure are trying everyone's patience except that of President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and congressional Republicans, save a few.

And we now have former CIA Director George Tenet in a belated epiphany telling us that the administration rushed into Iraq without sufficient debate in the Oval Office, Pentagon, and State Department. Even with a presidential medal for his service, Tenet may not get any more invitations to White House dinners.

Fellow Republicans would do well to follow Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, who isn't marching in lock step with those who see continuous war as a courageous stance. Hagel, a conservative on about every other issue, is a frequent visitor to the war zone and is voting with Democrats on a deadline for ending this disaster.

Hagel has added credentials because he served honorably in Vietnam and can see a situation worsening by the hour.

To borrow a phrase from the late Gov. Frank Clement of Tennessee at a Democratic convention more than a half century ago in another era, to be sure:

"How long, America? How long?"