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Conservatively liberal, moderately well-educated, and highly opinionated...

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Friday, November 18, 2005

Humble Pie

There is something inherently idiotic about the elected American leadership. Here we are, thousands of lives into a poorly planned and ideologically motivated war, and the leaders are proving (yet again) that they do not understand the region, the people, or their own responsibilities.

This is not an “I’m sorry, I’ll go away now” situation. The calls for immediate pull-out from Iraq - regardless of who makes them - are simply more gesturing and political posturing. It is an empty, belated knee-jerk. Simply walking away is not the solution anymore; it’s far too late.

What would happen, do you suppose, if we started pulling all the troops out now (or even in the next few months)? We’d leaving a vacuum; a sucking hole that would immediately be backfilled with unleashed violence and hatred between the Iraqi internal factions.

Doesn’t anybody remember Vietnam, and what happened there?

We (America) do indeed have to take responsibility for this putrid mess, but it will entail components Bush et al will resist. The most crucial is humility – an element for which the government of the US is not known.

At this point in time, we do not have the luxury of putting our heads in the sand. I would love to see an America that pays as much attention to its own business as it does everybody else's, but that's going to have to wait.

Rather than isolating, we need to re-approach our traditional allies – those we spurned going into Iraq - and invite them into an international solution. Some sacrificial diplomatic lamb will have to stand in front of the UN and apologize for our hubris – and then ask for help.

We teach our children to own up to their mistakes – to take responsibility for the outcomes of actions. If we have any hope of regaining our national self-respect (much less international trust), we have to demonstrate our own ability to do this. We must step up to the plate – and eat some humble pie.

As hard as it will be, it beats the alternatives.