Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld arrived on an unannounced visit to Iraq today and proclaimed: "Each time I come to Iraq I see progress."
Iraq is a nation disintegrating into homicidal chaos. It is a country whose leaders acknowledge is on the brink of all-out civil war. But, the President's Pentagon appointee, the man controlling the fate of 129,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq, stands up and flat out misleads the troops who don't get to go home to the U.S. at the end of the day, like Rumsfeld does.
America's independent government watchdog agency, the General Accountability Office, just released a report that confirms the President does not have an adequate plan to stabilize Iraq, and the occupation by U.S. forces is fueling the sectarian violence.
Rumsfeld can claim things are getting better to reporters while standing inside a fortified U.S. base, but that flies in the face of the facts.
Three years later, the only plan the President and his Defense Secretary can articulate is to stay indefinitely. Our military generals know full well this so-called plan guarantees more needless U.S. casualties, and Iraqi leaders know it guarantees more sectarian violence.
In the past, I and others have called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Today, I offer a better plan. The President should keep his political appointee. In fact, the President should transfer Secretary Rumsfeld to Iraq. He should be stationed there until every last U.S. solider leaves the nation we are now occupying.
The Secretary says he sees progress every time he visits. Imagine what he might see by actually living and working there. By working in Iraq, the Secretary could accept direct responsibility for generating more of what he calls progress every time he visits Iraq.
The only true thing we can say about Iraq today is that it is on the brink of dissolving into unspeakable violence. We cannot pretend our way out of Iraq, and we cannot pretend the Iraqi people believe our presence is stabilizing the country.
Iraq needs a plan that does not include the occupation of the country by foreign soldiers, including U.S. soldiers. Until this Administration admits that it cannot shoot its way to victory, Iraq will grow more and more violent.
If Defense Secretary Rumsfeld was stationed there, America might finally get an honest assessment of the war and a roadmap to peace.