President Bush called for patience in Iraq Monday, the fourth anniversary of the start of the war, which has claimed the lives of more than 3,200 U.S. troops. Americans have been very patient with the war. Patience is not what we need. We need a strategy.
After voters sent a clear message in November that they wanted to see changes in Iraq, reports of sectarian violence and American deaths pour out of Iraq every day, and a stable Iraqi-led government still appears nowhere in sight.
The administration admits it made mistakes in the execution of the war. But they think they have it right this time, with a surge of between 10,000 and 20,000 troops and a new strategy of having "enough forces to clear an area and hold it, so that building and governance can emerge," said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Perhaps Rice and Bush do have it right this time, but they are asking a lot of the American public to take them at their word after their previous failures in Iraq. Many Americans, who supported the war four years ago, never expected the situation to be so unstable almost half a decade after its launch especially after promises that troops would be greeted as liberators. In fact, a recent poll indicates only 18 percent of Iraqis have confidence in the U.S. and coalition forces.
While military leaders insist the surge is working to quell the insurgency and we pray that it is the cycle of violence continues, with reports another six U.S. troops were killed over the weekend.
We are not promoting a so-called "cut and run" strategy, but if significant progress is not made by the summer, including a reduction of violence and signs of a stable Iraqi government, then Congress must strongly consider bringing American troops home even if it means cutting off funding for the war. We hope the situation does not get to that point, but Americans have made their voices heard loud and clear on the issue of Iraq we want change, not more of the same.