My open feud with the News and Observer's editorial pages goes back a couple of years when the paper gave George Bush the benefit of the doubt regarding the his war in Iraq. The N&O wasn't exactly a cheerleader, and in his personal columns, Steve Ford often wondered about the long-term consequences of military action. But neither was the paper a strong and vocal critic of Bush's disastrous foreign policy.
Today's lead editorial is more of the same. The paper calls George Bush out on his stunning hypocrisy, but still holds on to the delusion of hope that something called "success" can emerge from the ashes of Iraq.
The president cannot defend his war one day by denying that it has any similarities to the Vietnam disaster and arguing the next that America must stay the course in an effort to avoid what happened after our Vietnam effort unraveled.
The president doesn't just need to get his story straight, he needs to get his policy straight, and he needs to acknowledge and seek suggestions from his friends and foes in Congress as to what direction should be taken to define and then seek what would be a successful outcome in Iraq.
I'm sorry, but only Polly Anna can still believe it's possible to have "a successful outcome in Iraq." We have all but destroyed an entire country. We have populated the ranks of terrorists who will threaten us for generations. And we have squandered countless billions in resources that could have helped enormously on the domestic front and in international diplomacy.
Is that how the N&O spells success?
I actually think they know better, but just can't bring themselves to take a clear stand. The final paragraph of the editorial gives a glimpse into what they were really thinking when they pulled their punches in the direction of wishful thinking:
Lessons from Vietnam? Well, there's one: Potential tragedy lies in a course wherein American troops are sent far from home to carry out an ill-defined policy with a fuzzy strategy. President Bush didn't learn it.
The truth is, George Bush has never learned anything worth knowing. He is a reckless fool in every way imaginable. And the N&O should know that by now.
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