Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Out-of-Iraq Shell Games

After years of blundering, the proprietors and enablers of this misbegotten war seem determined to end it the way they began it and waged it--with lies, evasions and cowardice.

The opinion polls show growing public impatience, but the politicians keep playing the same old games.

President Bush is being bubbled around the country to puff out his chest for groups of businessmen and proclaim, "Troop levels will be decided by our commanders on the ground, not by political figures in Washington, D.C."

Faithful Sen. Chuck Grassley, who does not have to face voters next year, tells wavering Republican colleagues who do that they should wait to hear from Gen, Petraeus since they confirmed him by such an overwhelming margin.

But in Baghdad, Petraeus is telling reporters, "We're still at the harder-before-it-gets-easier point” and reiterating, as he has be doing from the start of the Surge, that any solution in Iraq has to be political, not military.

So, as we watch their hands carefully, we have no idea of what, if anything, is under which shell. Does the political have to get better before the military can? Or is it the other way around? Or do both have to improve at the same time? Or are they making it up as they go?

In the Senate, multiple shell games are being played, with Democrats devising different formulas to cut funding or withdraw troops or rescind the 2002 war resolution, while Republicans look for ways to be in favor of ending the war but not just yet or not in any way that might come back to haunt them.

Before the month is out, dozens more of our young people will have died in Iraq and billions of dollars more gone down the drain while, in Washington, they will still be playing these games.

How long do they think they can keep snookering us? Even at carnivals, they sometimes give the suckers an even break.

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