• 66°

A strategy for repair, Dec. 7, 2005

I’ve been opposed to the invasion of Iraq from pretty much the get-go. I never saw the connection between it and 9-11. I suppose I just wasn’t &uot;visionary&uot; enough.

But unlike many politicians who supported the incursion then and are now calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, I’m leaning a little in the other direction.

I’m not opposed to withdrawal on the grounds cited by administration officials, i.e. &uot;emboldening the terrorists&uot; (I think our presence has emboldened them aplenty), nor even because we need to &uot;stay the course,&uot; whatever course that is.

I believe in the famous &uot;Pottery Barn Rule,&uot; reportedly cited by Colin Powell when the invading Iraq was first being considered: &uot;If you break it, you own it.&uot;

We busted more than a few vases in Iraq. It is ours. We have a moral obligation to fix it and I fear history will judge us harshly if we leave that wretched place in a shambles.

I’m certainly no expert on how that might be done. If it means sending more troops, that’s what we should do. It could be that pulling out is the way to fix it. There’s one theory that right now you have three dynamics going on in Iraq: You have Iraqis killing Americans; Americans killing Iraqis; and Iraqis killing Iraqis. If you take American troops out of the equation, you’ve immediately simplified it. If that’s the case, I support that, too.

I don’t think we need a strategy for victory in Iraq as much as we need a strategy for fixing it. My wish for Christmas is that someone comes up with one.