That's the headline from the Tuscaloosa News in Alabama.
The occupation of Iraq and the Bush administration’s attempt to transform it into a Western-style democracy was a tragic mistake.
The tragedy is only compounded by the fact that our leaders have been so slow to change the course of American involvement in the strife-torn country...
Parents of slain Americans in Iraq used to tell him the United States should remain in the country for as long as it takes, he said. Now, he said, many are saying it’s time to bring the troops home.
In truth, that time arrived long ago, when it became obvious to most Americans that the government in Iraq has chosen to leave the heavy lifting to our country. Voters expressed their displeasure at the polls last year but Bush’s response was to intensify the war effort through a "troop surge."
Newspaper editorials don't mean what they used to (if they ever did), but they do tend to reflect sentiment in their communities. For that reason it isn't just the NY Times that matters. And it's not just Tuscaloosa that's speaking out. E&P's Greg Mitchell had a story a few days ago about The Olympian, from WA.
Even though U.S. casualties in Iraq continue to mount -- and we have now been there longer than we were involved in World War II -- surprisingly few newspaper editorial pages have come out for any kind of withdrawal (even a very slow one) or timeline for a pullout. Polls show that about 2 in 3 Americans favor the start of a withdrawal, and even Republican Sen. Richard Lugar, a strong conservative, came out for it last week, but newspapers have remained largely silent. [my bold]
But yesterday, on Independence Day, a McClatchy newspaper in a region with a heavy military presence came out for withdrawal. The headline: "Bring Home U.S. Troops." It concludes that this war "isn't worth a single more American life."
The paper is The Olympian in Olympia, Wash. Nearby are Ft. Lewis (which has sent tens of thousands of troops to Iraq) and McChord Air Force Base. Daily circulation is about 32,000. The president and publisher is John Winn Miller. Vickie Kilgore is executive editor.
"The Fourth of July is a time when Americans celebrate the values that have made us a great nation," Miller tells E&P today. "So it seemed like an appropriate time to editorialize on what has become a national disgrace.
Here's some excerpts that Fourth of July piece:
Hearts are heavy this Fourth of July as the United States continues to wage an unwinnable war in Iraq...
On a day when Americans are supposed to wave the flag with honor and respect, many Americans are disheartened and embarrassed. They are fed up with an arrogant president and an ineffective Congress and their inability to extract this nation from the ill-conceived war that has alienated U.S. allies and unnecessarily sullied the reputation of this great nation.
This year, our day of national pride feels more like a day of national shame.
Look for more papers to begin speaking out. They know their readers have had it, and that DC is slow to get it. The support for the war is ever-so-slowly crumbling, right along with the enabling Republican party. Moderates and independents have left, and side with the Democrats in everything but name.
A few days back, we suggested the press was working in a different environment and had the opportunity to make up for their previous silence. It's good to see some take that opportunity and do something with it. After all, you never know when a congressman will be reading their hometown paper. Feel free to post some editorials here and make them easy to find for the folks that vote in DC. It isn't just us, it's the country that wants congress to read them.