"It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit." -- the New York Times, July 8, 2007.
Only four years -- and hundreds of thousands of dead bodies -- too late, of course. And it might have been nice if the Times editorialists had noted the very large part their own paper played in what they now call -- they now call -- "this unnecessary invasion."
Still, one can only hope -- wanly, I'm afraid -- that this turnaround will embolden the timorous spirits now guiding the Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. Sure, they blithely ignored the will of the anti-war majority of the American people who elected them, and not only did not take concrete steps to end the war, but even acquiesced in a major escalation of the crime. What did you expect? Nobody cares what the rubes out there have to say. But the New York Times now, that's a different matter! If they say it's OK to end the war, if you have that Establishment seal of approval, why then, you might be able take a few steps toward reining in this thing -- without risking the ire of your corporate donors.
So we shall see. I would imagine that we are now headed for the kind of "grand compromise" already being mooted by Bob Gates and others: a large-scale withdrawal of combat troops before the end of Bush's term, in exchange for leaving a hefty "residual force" behind. The final, panicky bugout will be left to the Crawford Caligula's successor.
But no matter what form the inevitable withdrawal (or partial withdrawal) takes, one thing is almost certain: the Bushists will rain mountains of fire and death on Iraq before the pullout, in a spate of frenzied attacks and offensives and air strikes that will be billed as "cracking down hard on the terrorists before handing over responsibility for security to our Iraqi allies" or some such -- but will in fact be a harsh and brutal act of revenge on the Iraqis for making America look bad.
Then of course, there's always the Iran option...and the Times is showing every indication of being on board for that. There is much more fall of blood to come before we even begin to see the beginning of the end of Bush's war.