For a long time, the Bush administration has been plagued with a serious problem: the situation in Iraq continues to get bleaker and bleaker as more and more Americans and our international allies disapprove of the war. Yet pulling the troops out would be tantamount to admitting failure and that the whole venture was a mistake, a political no-no. There is no graceful exit strategy. But suddenly, the horrible devastation in the wake of Katrina could provide an easy out, if the administration has the imagination to link the two issues.
The horrific pictures coming out of New Orleans and other costal communities in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama clearly show that the damage is immense and beyond the repair of current manpower. It is clearly important to our national interest that the area be revitalized, but how can so few National Guard troops deal with the colossal clean-up and rebuilding of such vast areas?
However we do have the manpower. Many thousands of well-trained troops are in Iraq complicating a political situation that worsens the longer we stay. If Bush has the courage, he can solve these two seemingly disparate problems with a single stroke of a pen: pull the troops out of Iraq and put them in the Gulf Coast disaster area where they can do so much more good.
Bush need not admit failure. All he simply has to do, like his father before him, is declare victory and leave. No one who has seen images of the devastation of New Orleans would doubt his sincerity when he claims that they are more needed at home.
The President stands on the brink of greatness. If he could get us out of Iraq and rebuild the Gulf Coast region, he has the potential to become one of the most beloved Presidents of all time. If on the other hand he does nothing and our country continues to spiral downward, he could be remembered as the man responsible for turning a once great nation into an impoverished third-world country. For the sake of Katrinaís victims, for the sake of the soldiers and their families, and for the sake of all of us, letís hope he makes the right choice.