Sacrificing Private Ryan

Almost four years have passed since the beginning of the war in Iraq, and this has been its toll: Some 200,000 Iraqis have been killed, and nearly 1 million have been maimed and injured. More than 3,000 American soldiers have been killed, and 35,000 have been wounded. Four million Iraqis have become refugees. Every day, some 100 people are killed. Iraq is in ruins. There is not enough water, electricity or fuel.

There is no democracy either. The very mention of crushed Iraq as democratic seems like a farce, a pipe dream. The axis of evil has only gotten stronger, and the earth is spinning around it. America itself, the cop of the world, is like the Israel Police: Its deterrance has been exhausted, and the crazies are spinning the world on their finger.

When I formulated my harsh predictions before the war, I did not imagine that reality would be worse.

And now, Bush is going to thrust another 20,000 Ameican soldiers into this darkness, adding them to the 132,000 soldiers already bleeding in Iraq. Does any rational person in America - or anywhere in the world - still believe a victory, though it may tarry, is yet to come?

The question must be formulated differently: Is Bush the stupidest president his country has ever had? A study recently published by the University of California, Davis raises the possibility that the president's I.Q. is particularly low. But the problem is not one of stupidity alone.

Bush simply refuses to admit his mistake, a mistake that will relegate his name and legacy to the nadirs of history. To save his skin, he is willing to sacrifice Private Ryan in a civil war that is not his own.

Beware of politicians like George Bush, who begin futile wars and refuse to end them quickly; from these boorish and arrogant politicians comes calamity. Not for nothing are the swallows of Jerusalem hurrying off to the crows in Washington - they are of their species.

In adding 20,000 soldiers, Bush is like the gambler who doubles and triples his bet at the roulette table, trying to regain his losses. The gamble is easier when the money is not your own, and the lives are not those of your children and your relatives. Instead of setting a schedule for a gradual withdrawal, as most Americans want, more soldiers have been thrown in, as if they were gambling chips. Bush has decided his is not to end the war, and he has burdened his successor with his failure. Until that time, the soldiers can wait; they can die.

What is to be expected of an administration that hangs a condemned tyrant badly? Can hopes be hung on one who doesn't even know how to hang? May the fate of Jacob be entrusted with Esau?