Washington Babel


President Bush and Ayad Allawi say Iraqi elections will be held next January, and the State Department's Richard Armitage adds that they will be held all over Iraq: "We've got to do our best efforts to get in troubled areas. … I think we're going to have these elections in all parts of the country."

So what does Don Rumsfeld do? He says: "Let's say you tried to have an election and you could have it in three quarters or four fifths of the country but some places you couldn't because the violence was too great. Well, so be it, nothing is perfect in life, so you have an election that's not quite perfect. Is it better than not having an election? You bet."

Who knows, Rumsfeld may be right (though the whole point of the elections is to unite Iraq, not divide it), but you've got to wonder how long this administration can continue to speak in so many tongues on Iraq, and still convince even the war's supporters (present company included) that this is how victory can best be achieved.