George, listen up. Concentrate. Even your idol, Abe, would now call it quits. He would conclude that though he once had virtually no hope of winning this war, he now has absolutely no hope of winning this war.
That, at least, is what he'd conclude after ripping this morning's headline from the wire: "Top Iraqis Pull Back from Key U.S. Goal" -- followed by a lead that confirms the worst: "For much of this year, the U.S. military strategy in Iraq has sought to reduce violence so that politicians could bring about national reconciliation, but several top Iraqi leaders say they have lost faith in that broad goal."
That's it, George. That's the ballgame. That's all she wrote. There now officially remains not one solitary justification for staying the course, for there is no acceptable course on which to stay. Either Iraq is partitioned, which you oppose, or it settles into a permanent sectarian power structure of brutal ethnic cleansing and minority oppression, which you also claim to oppose. There is no other future, George, no Third Way.
"I don't think there is something called reconciliation, and there will be no reconciliation as such," said the Kurdish deputy prime minister of Iraq. "To me, it is a very inaccurate term. This is a struggle about power."
Shiite pols are effectively declaring their determined control of that power. "There has been no significant progress for months," observed Tariq al-Hashimi, who's described as "the most influential Sunni politician in the country" -- and one, who, being on the receiving end, knows why. "There is a shortage of goodwill from those parties who are now in the driver's seat of the country."
Those "in the driver's seat" had taken to calling it a "national unity government," which now, it is straighforwardly and abominably clear, is neither national, unified, nor governmental in any recognizable sense of the word. It is wholly sectarian, based wholly on supporting Shiite militia power, and has no interest in resolving the heretofore most troublesome issues of oil-resource management, the reintegration of former Baath Party members into positions of authority, or the blending of Iraq's police force with Sunnis.
And George, Shiite pols, Sunni pols and Kurdish pols are now open about it. To say, as this news piece did, that "some potential progress toward reconciliation has run into recent trouble" is like saying Hitler's '43 Russian campaign hit a bit of a bump in the road. It's over, George, and all the pertinent players are conceding just that.
Sure, there are some still going through the motions -- some who "remain hopeful" -- such as the Sunni vice president who "recently drafted what he calls the 'Iraqi National Compact,' a 25-point statement of principles that condemns all types of extremism and sectarian discrimination." Last month he met with Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, and he "said Sistani expressed support for the national compact while requesting minor editing of the document." Right -- like just strike your condemnation of extremism and sectarian discrimination, and you've got a deal.
What's more, George, you can't even rely on what little Shiite government you have there. It's described as "disintegrating." One Iraqi official -- one doubtlessly violating the Muslim prohibition against hallucinogenic drug use -- suggests that "the fragmentation of Iraq's leading Shiite coalition, while potentially leading to more instability..., might be an opportunity to lessen the reliance of politicians on their sectarian blocs." And that is the very definition of a colossal non sequitur.
George, Abe believed he would triumph, in time, given his concomitant belief in the Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force. But you have no overwhelming force, George. What you did have was the slimmest of hopes that Iraqi politicians would work things out, but even they are now telling you and the world that that simply isn't going to happen. And they're no longer just secretly telegraphing this to your war department -- they are, instead, brazenly open about it. And we believe them.
Since Iraqi pols are leaving no question about the direction of Iraq's future, that leaves us, George, with only one remaining question: How are you going to spin this one? We await your speechwriters' inventiveness, but frankly, even your idol, Abe, would no longer bother.