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Editorial Demands Grow for U.S. Pullout of Iraq

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Editorial Demands Grow for U.S. Pullout of Iraq

Article excerpt

The editorial pages of many American newspapers have long been harshly critical of the conduct of the war in Iraq, but very few major papers have ever called for a U.S. withdrawal any time soon. The Washington Post has strongly opposed the idea, while The New York Times has started moving in the pullout direction. But the Los Angeles Times -- which had backed the "surge" -- took the strongest stand yet on Sunday, in an editorial titled simply, "Bring Them Home."

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, in a conservative state, the Roanoke (Va.) Times also called for a pullout, explaining that it, too, was reversing course on its support for the war.

The L.A. Times observed, "This newspaper reluctantly endorsed the U.S. troop surge as the last, best hope for stabilizing conditions so that the elected Iraqi government could assume full responsibility for its affairs. But we also warned that the troops should not be used to referee a civil war. That, regrettably, is what has happened."

It concluded that "the longer we delay planning for the inevitable, the worse the outcome is likely to be. The time has come to leave."

The Roanoke paper stated, "Though President Bush seems psychologically incapable of the act, it is time for everyone else in the United States to recognize the inevitable: The occupation of Iraq is an utter, irredeemable failure. We cannot win there militarily or politically.

"Further expenditure of blood, lives, and treasure will gain the United States nothing. Nor will it gain anything for the Iraqi people, who have seen only chaos and bloodshed from this intervention."

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette declared on Thursday, "All Congress needs to do is show some courage and stand up to President Bush. Its ultimate service to our forces would be to see that no more of them lose their lives in a pointless war -- a great service indeed."

The Sun of Baltimore, which had already back a pullout, now advises that "since the Iraqi parliament plans to take July and August off, Congress could suggest to the president that American troops do the same. It would be a start, at least."

At the Portland (Maine) Press Herald on Sunday, editorial page editor John W. Porter explained the paper's recent change of heart on the war (it now backs withdrawal) this way: A major in the Army reserve had made the observation, in chatting with a reporter for the paper, "Every day is Groundhog Day." This, of course, refers to the movie, "Groundhog Day," in which Bill Murray wakes each morning to find himself stuck in the same day.

"Groundhog Day," Porter wrote, referring to Iraq. "One day indistinguishable from the next. No change. No progress. Just the grind of it."

An excerpt from the L.A. Times editorial, available at, follows.*

Whatever the future holds, the United States has not "lost" and cannot "lose" Iraq. It was never ours in the first place. And however history will judge the war, some key U.S. goals have been accomplished: Saddam Hussein has been ousted, tried and executed; Iraqis have held three elections, adopted a constitution and established a rudimentary democracy.

But what now? After four years of war, more than $350 billion spent and 3,363 U. …

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