Saddam is gone. There was never any threat to the US or UK from Iraq, and there is not now one. What is the mission, for which these young people have given their lives this spring? What do we tell their children about why their daddy is no longer there for them? Is it just Karl Rove's best guess about what will win the next election? Better business for Dick Cheney's golf buddies among the Big Oil CEOs? George W. Bush's cokehead emotional shallowness and inability to admit he ever made a mistake? What?
We ask our men and women in uniform to risk their lives, sometimes to sacrifice them, for the security of our nation. But the security of our nation is not in doubt. We ask defense attorneys to defend someone who might be guilty, and prosecuting attorneys to attempt to convict someone who might be innocent, since justice requires a fair trial, and guilt and innocence are seldom clear. In the same way, we sometimes send our military into a war, the justice of which is not clear. They have done their job, the job the American and British publics gave them, uncomplainingly. But if the prosecuting attorney suddenly finds evidence that the defendent is innocent, he has to drop the charges. Iraq is innocent. It isn't a threat to the US. It may now be a threat to itself or its region, because of the civil war. But it and its region will just have to deal with that. And they will deal with it better if we don't keep getting in their way.
That is why the Democratic majority in the House and Senate agreed on a date by which they want US troops out of Iraq. Because enough sunshine has gone out of our lives, enough children are without a parent, enough lives have been blighted, for a mission that no one has been able to define with any clarity.
Mr. Cole seems to forget: We're Making Progress.