Shadow Play

October 2004
America;10/4/2004, Vol. 191 Issue 9, p3
The editorial focuses on the war in Iraq. Problems produced by the Iraq war are mounting, and the war remains the nation's number one issue; but neither the candidates nor the country are debating how to bring the war to an end and leave the Iraqis to govern themselves. The culprits in the demise of democratic deliberation are many: politicians who look only to the next election; consultants set on political combat; the media, which thrive on scandal, confuse "balance" with objectivity and pollute the airwaves with the blather of talking heads; overheated technology that floods us with infotainment, and a public that relishes politics, like professional wrestling, as a sport. All are guilty of indifference to the suffering the war has inflicted on the Iraqi people, selfish avoidance of the costs of the war and sophomoric inattention to world affairs. At such times, serious discussion of how the United States will find a way forward in Iraq is urgently needed, but neither President George W. Bush nor Senator John F. Kerry are offering ideas for winning the peace. The president will not admit that the war is a failure, that it detracted from the campaign against Al Qaeda and strengthened the terrorists' recruitment, that Osama bin Laden remains at large and that Afghanistan is fast slipping back into independent fiefs run by warlords involved in the drug trade. Mr. Kerry is unable to distinguish his position from that of Mr. Bush. So we should not expect that the next weeks will present us with a serious debate over how to secure peace for Iraq and ourselves.


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