Today's NY Times reprints a previously secret memo by Rumsfeld titled: "SUBJECT: Iraq — Illustrative New Courses of Action", and also an article about the memo: "Rumsfeld Memo on Iraq Proposed ‘Major’ Change".
Read this remarkable, well written memo yourself. It is a brief, matter of fact and to the point summary of the options presently available in Iraq. The shorthand summary is entirely consistent with previous summaries attributed to the Pentagon: 1) Cut and Run, 2) Stay the Course or 3) Go Long (more troops). Rummy places 'Stay the Course' and 'Go Long' squarely in the 'less attractive' category, while variants on 'Cut and Run' are all in the 'could and, in a number of cases, should be done' category.
Rummy's memo may be the nail in the coffin of the Bush Doctrine of Preemptive War to bring the gift of democracy to the world. Iraq is a failure, and not simply because of poor tactics: it was ill conceived from the get go.
There can be no pleasure in Bush's failure, no gratification or point to 'I told you so' (which so many did do). The reality is: millions of innocent Iraqis suffer, thousands of Americans are dead or badly injured, America's reputation and power have been compromised and the fundamentalists of the world are emboldened. No silver lining here: all this is for nothing at all.
We can hope for the dawn, but we ought brace ourselves for yet darker hours to come. Iraq can be expected to deteriorate, possibly disintegrate and could well become a fundamentalist Islamic state. Anti-American forces in the region, and throughout the world, have been handed a new tool to resist us: chaos works. Even friends and sympathizers will be less quick to jump to our aid.
We cried "The Sky is Falling", and in so doing brought about or at the least hastened the fall. Now we must just leave Iraq, get that pain behind us as soon as possible make the best if it. Not much of a plan, but it is the best we've got.