03/20/06 — Third anniversary: Review of war should include soul-searching, perspective

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Third anniversary: Review of war should include soul-searching, perspective

It would be surprising if anyone looking back at the three years since the invasion of Iraq would be able to paint a completely rosy picture. War just isn’t like that.

When people die, even if the end justifies the means, there is always reason to ponder, somberly, what could have been done differently, along with what has already been achieved.

So, there is nothing wrong with looking critically at how we have done our job as we try to determine the next steps toward peace and democracy in Iraq.

But as we look critically at what we haven’t yet accomplished, we should also look realistically at where we are — and how far we have come.

Most people knew that rebuilding Iraq was not going to be easy. There are decades of corruption to overcome as well as plenty of civil unrest to rechannel. Iraq did not become a dictatorship in a day — and it will not become a democracy quickly either.

As we look back this week at the war to-date, we need to remember that we cannot rush the work that needs to be done in Iraq. We need to make sure this country can stand on its own and fight the insurgents who threaten its future — as well as mend the religious disagreements that worry its allies.

We might need new policies for the war and rebuilding Iraq. But before we jum p on the “job is done and it is time to come home” bandwagon, we need to think about the consequences of altering our course.

That is the responsible way to approach an anniversary date of such an important event.

Published in Editorials on March 20, 2006 11:56 AM