"We Have Failed" in Iraq, Sez Gen. (Ret.)


Wall Street Journal columnist John Harwood has a chat with retired Gen. William E. Odom, currently of the right-wing Hudson Institute, who believes we ought to hightail it out of Iraq ASAP. Snippets:

"We have failed," Mr. Odom declares bluntly. "The issue is how high a price we're going to pay. … Less, by getting out sooner, or more, by getting out later?"…

Mr. Odom opposed the Iraq war before it happened. An expert in comparative politics who teaches at Georgetown and Yale, he warned that there was no reason to expect that Iraq could soon develop the ingredients for constitutional democracy: individual rights, property rights and a tax-collection system supporting a government to enforce them. The violence of recent months, he concludes, has exposed Mr. Bush's vision of doing so as a dream….

The longer U.S. troops hang tough, he reasons, the more isolated America will become. That in turn will place increasing strain on international economic and security institutions that have undergirded the emergence of "America's Inadvertent Empire," as Mr. Odom's latest book calls it. "I don't know that the UN, the IMF, the World Bank, [or] NATO can survive this," he says.

Odom wants the UN and Europe to come in but also wants the U.S. to leave even if no one else steps forward.

Read the whole thing here.

[Tip of the hat to Ernest Hancock]