Don't look now, but is the Bush administration creeping toward John Kerry's position on Iraq?
I am writing this column hours before the president's Tuesday news conference, so I have to allow for the possibility that he will stun us with some radical new departure -- perhaps even articulating a coherent policy. But whatever the president says, the administration has been moving closer to acknowledging the desirability -- and at times, the necessity -- of letting the United Nations do the work of nation-building that George Bush once assumed the United States should undertake.
So now the president's war of choice has led to an occupation with no good options.
The Bush administration's plan is to hand over control of Iraq to the Iraqi Governing Council on June 30. Just how that council will sustain itself in power, however, is increasingly unclear after the upheaval of the past few days. Its own police force, which the United States has spent time and treasure recruiting and training, all but collapsed during the uprising of Moqtada Sadr's Shiite militia.
In Kufa, Najaf and Baghdad's own Sadr City, the government's new cops handed over police cars and police stations to the militia without any reported resistance. In some instances, the cops actually joined forces with Sadr's militants.
Behind every successful man, the old saying used to go, stands a supportive woman. No one has come up with an adage identifying who, exactly, stands behind a successful woman, so let me make a modest suggestion: Millie Jeffrey.
The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, The White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill By Ron Suskind, Simon & Schuster, 348 pages, $26.00
George W. Bush has had a cold winter, and it's not chiefly the Democrats' doing. The weapons of mass destruction in Iraq -- and with them the raison d'être for Bush's war -- proved to be fictitious. Worse yet, it began to dawn on the American people that their president had nothing new to offer them to fix the economy.
Just a few minutes after 8 a.m. on Dec. 7, 1941, with the bombs still falling on Pearl Harbor, Pacific Fleet intelligence officer Lt. Cmdr. Edwin Layton, who'd been predicting a Japanese attack for that very weekend, was scurrying through fleet headquarters when two of his superiors stopped him. "Here is the young man we should have listened to," said Capt. Willard Kitts, the fleet gunnery officer. "If it's any satisfaction to you," added Capt. Charles "Soc" McMorris, the fleet war plans officer, "you were right and we were wrong."