Some days, reading the newspaper is just weird. Today, for instance, the Washington Post has a front page story about U.S. efforts to negotiate an agreement with Iraq on when American troops would leave. The draft agreement says by December 2011 but would allow for extensions; Shiite critics want no possible extensions. The story goes on to say that "if there is no accord" U.S. forces must leave by the end of this year.
Hunh? We're not in Iraq because of some agreement, some invitation. We're there because we invaded the place, which some of us, but not George W. Bush, thought was a bad idea in the first place. We stay there, we occupy the place by force, not diplomacy. Now if there's no agreement, we must leave? In that case, let's root for the talks to fail, but it makes no sense.
Meanwhile, our presidential election is (thank goodness) only two weeks off. Barack Obama, ahead in most polls, has been endorsed by one of the men who led us into Iraq, General Colin Powell. Powell made an important speech at the U.N. in 2003, claiming among other things that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. He has said since that the speech was based on bad information and is a "blot" on his record. He remains an honorable man and there are enough Iraq blots on peoples' records to go around and then some.
So we roll on. Will Powell's endorsement help Obama? Probably; it's certainly hard to imagine it hurting him. And Obama says he'll get us out of Iraq. It's a little like F. Scott Fitzgerald's line in Gatsby: "And so we roll on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
But no. The future is coming, folks. In just two weeks.
Note: The editor of this column, will be out of Washington for a time. The column will nap, and rouse itself on her return.
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