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The War Is Over?


That, at least, is the argument made by Frank Rich in today's Times. Whatever the president may be saying, Rich argues, "the country has already made the decision for Mr. Bush. We're outta there."

Rich may be right; there does seem to be something fundamental that's transpired in the past week or so. Maybe it's the combination of increased mortality in Iraq (all those Ohio deaths); Cindy Sheehan's meta-protest; and a Pentagon general talking about a schedule for troop withdrawal.

And as I've noted before, Bush's rhetoric about the rationale for the war seems increasingly...dumb. And I don't use that word glibly. What I mean is that when he says we're in Iraq because it's a locus (not a word he'd use) of terrorism, we all know that it is so only because we invaded the country, and it wasn't before. When he says that we're fighting the terrorists over there so that we don't have to confront them here, in our "homeland," the illogic of the argument is so obvious, it's almost embarrassing. Hence: dumb. Bush is trying to convince us of things that are patently untrue, and while it may have worked for a while, the rote repetition of these lines is making the president look stupid.

This war, which never had a deep well of public support anyway, is fast losing whatever support it did have.

I recognize that this represents a political opportunity for Democrats and opponents of the war. Fair enough. But before progressives jump completely aboard the Cindy Sheehan bandwagon, we need to remember something Bill Clinton pointed out on CNN the other day: Whatever the reason for us going into Iraq, we are there now, and it's in our interest to have a successful outcome. Democrats can't just sit back and enjoy the president's problems; they need to come up with some solutions. And just saying what a hero Cindy Sheehan is isn't enough.