So this is how the war starts to end, not with a bang but a whimper, as the Hollow Men in Washington quibble, equivocate and compromise over how we edge out of a country we broke and own until we can find the right bipartisan words to cover our retreat.
“Democrats Newly Willing to Compromise on Iraq,” says today’s New York Times while the Christian Science Monitor finds “On Iraq war, bipartisan tack afoot” and Madeleine Albright OpEds in the Washington Post about “How to Change Iraq.”
The real contest is over crafting ways to, in Secretary Albright’s phrase, “enable President Bush to continue denying that his invasion has evolved into disaster” while we “prevent Iraq from becoming a haven for al-Qaeda, a client state of Iran or a spark that inflames regionwide war.”
And, she might have added, get enough Congressional defectors to start backing away from the war without being vulnerable to rabid voters on both sides of the issue next fall.
This week and next, the air will be filled with unbearable blather as Democrats and Republicans jockey for ways to accomplish that statesmanlike mission. There will be enough “reports” on progress in Iraq or lack of it to back any proposal that can get 60 votes in the Senate.
The process will not be uplifting, whimpers seldom are. But it’s past time for Congress to start to stop the killing any way they can.