The Iraq war is a sickness in American politics. Four years ago, we reelected a President who had misled us into a tragic war that cost thousands of lives, well after the justification for it had proven false. The American people were distracted from this paramount fact by fear and political diversions like John Kerry’s purple hearts. The democratic nominee was caricatured as a flip-flopping coward. Four more years of war have followed.
In 2008, Americans face a grimly similar choice. The same Republicans who smeared Kerry on behalf of Bush are back; only the name of their candidate has changed. McCain’s campaign has been based on prolonging the Iraq war, claiming Democrats want nothing less than surrender.
But this past weekend, the justification for war effectively died. Iraq’s freely-elected leader, Nouri al-Maliki, bluntly said he wants the US to leave his country. All agree the security situation has improved, and now a democratic Iraq is declaring its sovereignty. In other words, our troops have completed their mission. So why haven’t we left yet?
The President knows that if we started bringing our troops home tomorrow, John McCain would have no argument for his candidacy.
But the war can be over. I only hope the American people will see through the dizzying spin.