EDITORIAL: Out of Iraq ... when?

A classified plan leaked in The New York Times July 23 reveals that the Pentagon plans to keep troops in Iraq at least two more years, despite the mounting nationwide and worldwide clamor that the U.S. end its military occupation.

The plan was developed by Gen. David Petraeus, senior commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, U.S. ambassador in Iraq. This plan exposes as pure fakery the much-touted status report Petraeus is scheduled to deliver to Capitol Hill in September

Republicans used the September report as an excuse for voting against a bill with a specific withdrawal timeline. In vetoing that bill, President Bush argued that Congress should wait for Petraeus’ report.

But the leaked Pentagon plans show that the status report is a stalling tactic, that the decision has already been made for a long-term, if not permanent, U.S. military occupation of Iraq.

On July 19, 70 House members delivered an open letter to Bush warning him that they will vote only for funds “for the protection and safe redeployment of all our troops out of Iraq before you leave office.” It is “unwise and unacceptable for you to unilaterally impose these staggering costs and the soaring debt on Americans currently and for generations to come,” they wrote.

The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service says the Iraq war is now costing us $10 billion a month.

The July 23 New York Times also featured a report on the dire medical care crisis in New Orleans, two years after Bush promised federal aid to rebuild the hurricane-ravaged city. Lindy Boggs Medical Center, abandoned, is slated for demolition. On the streets surrounding that hospital “lies the wreckage of a once bustling medical corridor,” where today hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices sit empty, the article says.

This is “sicko” with a vengeance, imposed on the people by the sick minds in the White House.

We must exert still more pressure on Congress to stop this madness. We cannot afford to squander $10 billion each month while a humanitarian crisis grows worse both in Baghdad and New Orleans.