President Bush's exit strategy for Iraq has come down to this: Leave the mess to the future president or presidents. That was the essence of his Thursday-night message.
The self-proclaimed decider has decided that his nonending conflict should extend "beyond my presidency." He's quite willing to pass the buck. Harry Truman is spinning in his grave.
The next commander in chief, Republican or Democrat, will have to preside over getting our troops out of this sectarian/civil war. More blood will be spilled, and the billions-a-month price tag will be left to future generations.
As the president spoke to the country, one could recall those rosy predictions of four years ago. The invasion was almost a piece of cake. Our forces would be treated as liberators. The cost of reconstruction would be paid largely by oil revenues. Once Saddam was toppled, we could build a democracy.
All of it was dead wrong. We are occupiers in a caldron of the Middle East. The oil fields are bringing in chump change, not the billions promised. Building a democracy among the Shiites, the Sunnis, and the Kurds was a pipe dream.
Vice President Cheney, with all that experience at hand, was the principal cheerleader for the disaster. Those weapons of mass destruction he was so confident of have never been found nor will they be found.
It serves no purpose for critics of the war to go after General Petraeus. Perhaps Bush would like to duck behind him if all goes wrong in the months ahead. The general is only doing a commander's job with no political agreement in sight from the Maliki government.
The latest casualty in Iraq was the assassination of a U.S.-friendly sheik who'd been photographed shaking hands with Bush the previous week.
Without a political solution in Iraq and surrounding countries, the war will continue for the next president to handle. What a shameful legacy for the Bush team.