Tuesday, July 04, 2006

"A shameful debate" on Iraq (Trudy Rubin)

The Philadelphia Inquirer journalist Trudy Rubin has consistently stood out as one of the most well informed, perceptive, tough-minded, and morally and politically serious people writing about the 2003 Iraq war and its aftermath. In a recent piece she correctly described the current partisan debates about Iraq as being, with very few exceptions, not just unhelpful but positively "disgraceful" and "shameful" on both sides--dishonest, irresponsible, substantively vacuous or misleading, and often strikingly cynical.

For a different perspective and some reality checks, I recommend reading and pondering how Rubin lays out the issues in these three recent articles, which add up to a characteristically honest and illuminating consideration of the dilemmas we (and the Iraqis) now face.:

A shameful debate on an Iraqi pullout - June 25, 2006
The debate in the Senate last week over when to exit Iraq was disgraceful. Americans deserve an honest airing of the most important foreign-policy issue facing the country. But this congressional circus had little to do with policy and everything to do with election-year politics.
Troops are fingers in a dike around Iraq - June 18, 2006
And now for a reality check on the congressional debate about leaving Iraq. Neither Democrats nor Republicans have a grip. Republicans are right to nix the idea that U.S. troops should withdraw in six months. But the Bush administration has made such a hash in Iraq that U.S. troops have little chance of creating the "secure and united Iraq" that Republicans call for.
Benchmarks to judge Iraqi leaders - June 14, 2006
President Bush's surprise trip to Baghdad this week underlined an unsettling truth about U.S. efforts in Iraq. The war effort, and his own political future, now depend on Iraq's politicians. That's why Bush had to travel to Baghdad to shore up its shaky leaders. The U.S. project in Iraq will turn on whether the new Iraqi government can improve its own people's lives.
[Trudy Rubin writes the Worldview column for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Her column usually appears on Wednesdays and Sundays. She can be reached at trubin@phillynews.com.
Her new book, “Willful Blindness, The Bush Administration and Iraq,” describes how the administration got us into Iraq and the prospects for getting out. This book of Rubin’s column from July 2002 - June 2004 draws on her extensive experience in the Middle East, four lengthy trips to Iraq and her close contacts with Iraqi officials, clerics and ordinary people.
In Willful Blindness, Trudy Rubin simplifies a complex story and lays out the steps necessary to stabilize Iraq. Visit www.trudyrubin.com for the most current listings of upcoming media and speaking appearances by Trudy and her thoughts on the Iraq situation.]
Yours for reality-based discourse,
Jeff Weintraub