The NY Times shocks us with the news that Iraq is corrupt. Well, that settles it - if American auditors and comptrollers went into Iraq with no plan for winning the peace, and if we can't hope to bring about a reconciliation of the national accounts, it is time to withdraw.
MORE: Don Surber notes that if you've lost the car washes, you've lost everything.
John Quiggin at Crooked Timber makes the point that the coalition encouraged this (as if the UN sanctions did not) and closes sensibly:
The good news in the NY Times report is that the civil war in Iraq, while still bloody has abated to the point that a report like this is worth paying attention to. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, things are getting worse. More on this later, but one general lesson is that war is unpredictable and should always be a last resort. All wars come to an end, but that doesn’t bring the dead back to life, or turn a tragedy into a triumph.
And Joe Klein, apparently desperate to regain some lefty cred after his FISA lashing, Keeps Despair Alive:
Two points: Obviously, there is absolutely nothing the U.S. military presence can do about this. And less obviously, there is very little the Iraqis can do about this, either....
This is another reason why Bush's "Freedom Agenda" has always sounded so foolish in the region. It is also another reason to begin the troop withdrawals now.
We went in with too few auditors, but maybe it is not too late for an international Coalition of the Billing to sort this out. By the hour.
Well, even if Mr. Klein is right and a relatively honest democratic government is not a realistic goal for Iraq, it hardly follows that immediate US withdrawal is the only logical alternative. Perhaps we can reasonably aspire to a stable but corrupt government where the Sunnis and Shiites bribe each other rather than shoot each other. And the good news is, Mr. Klein can still declare this to be a defeat!