It is time to bring our troops home from Iraq.
This stand represents a shift in the newspaper's editorial position. Until now, we have supported the military mission in Iraq, though at times we have been harshly critical of President Bush in his role as commander in chief.
Now, it is our opinion that major U.S. military operations in Iraq should cease, though not because the decision to invade was inherently flawed.
Ridding the Middle East of Saddam Hussein's rule in Iraq could have helped combat global Islamic terrorism. Toppling Saddam and replacing him with a democratic government was not beyond our military and diplomatic capabilities.
Even if the Bush administration exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam's weapons programs and hinted disingenuously at a link between Iraq and the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the mission still made sense. That's because the threat of weapons of mass destruction and a potential Iraq-al-Qaida link were never the best reasons for the invasion. By themselves, the strategic advantages to be had from Saddam's ouster and the creation of a more pro-Western government in Iraq were worthy and obtainable goals.
But in supporting this war, we made a tremendous error. We believed the president and his team possessed the skills and judgment needed to make the mission a success. We were wrong.
The president has so botched the job in Iraq that it has become clear to all but the most stubborn observers that a military victory there is unlikely. Even if one believes the United States has the resources to turn things around, the president's performance has been so poor that he has lost the confidence of the American people. As such, it will be impossible for him to rally the support necessary for a costly and sustained military effort in Iraq.
The complete editorial can be read here.