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Hanging accomplished but no closer to success

By Bob ShrumThe dictator is dead - and few will mourn his passing.

By Bob Shrum

The dictator is dead - and few will mourn his passing. The process that condemned him was hardly a model of jurisprudence, but few Americans will raise their voices to object. While Saddam Hussein’s execution will be met with joy by the dominant Shiite in Iraq, the danger is that it will inflame the Sunni insurgents, but they are already on the attack everyday.

The bottom line is this: Hanging Accomplished won’t bring us any closer to success in Iraq than Mission Accomplished did. For America, the war in Iraq is over except for the dying. And the toll will go higher, both among our soldiers and Iraqi civilians, as President Bush rejects the Baker Commission recommendations and prolongs or escalates the war.

A surge in U.S. forces is a reckless gamble that treats our troops as fodder in an attempt to redeem a hopeless policy. The generals on the ground advised for months that a surge would just swell the violence. But the president is taking time to cook the advice just as his administration cooked the intelligence before the invasion of Iraq. He’ll extract the counsel he wants, from enough compliant officials, to push ahead with another predetermined decision and twenty to thirty thousand more Americans will be sent to Iraq "temporarily." They will then be kept there indefinitely by this administration as Surge Accomplished fuels instead of ending the insurgency. Truly, this is and will be a case of failure as an excuse for its own perpetuation.

Saddam Hussein will be in his grave. But the United States will be deeper in the quagmire. And the hangman’s noose can’t change that reality.