“AS LONG AS IT TAKES”….By now, we all know that the war in Iraq wasn’t really about Saddam’s WMD ? where did we get that silly idea, anyway? ? it was actually about liberating Iraq and bringing democracy to the Iraqi people. How long will we be there? “As long as it takes.”

Well, via Matt Yglesias and Oxblog, The New Republic reports on the postwar reality:

At long last, the military brass, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, his civilian advisers at the Pentagon, and even the State Department agree about U.S. policy toward Iraq. They all support an administration plan that calls for a fairly rapid drawdown of American forces there: Whereas the United States currently has 130,000 troops in Iraq, by the fall it intends to have just 30,000.

By fall! And this just a few days after Paul Bremer suggests shooting looters on sight because disorder is so bad, Hezbollah is reported to have set up a branch in Baghdad, and the entire country seems to be teetering on the edge of civil war.

Conservatives wonder why we liberals always seem to let our disgust with George Bush overshadow discussions of actual policy. This is why: because you can’t trust a word he says. He’s not trying to solve problems in a big and complex country, he’s just playing political games.

WMD? Saddam and al-Qaeda? Nah, there’s not much to it, but it’s a story the American public will buy. Go with it.

Liberation of Iraq? Another good story. But let’s not get too serious about it.

Bad economy? Sounds like a great opportunity to push some conservative tax cut hobbyhorses, and let’s not worry that even conservative economists ? not to mention Alan Greenspan ? think the whole plan is a crock.

Massive state deficits? Let ’em rot. If they get desperate enough, maybe we’ll have a chance to force school vouchers on them.

North Korea? Um, let’s not talk about that.

Is there anything ? anything at all ? that George Bush actually takes seriously? Or is everything in the world nothing more than an excuse to play partisan games?

Of course liberals don’t like Bush, but now he’s betraying everything that conservatives and war partisans believed in too. How long are they going to continue believing in him?

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