Michael Barone
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This seems to envision that we keep doing just what we've been doing until the Iraqi forces grow stronger -- the same course of action that these senators say has failed. Then we should hand over responsibility to the Iraqi government "under an appropriately expedited timeline" -- classic bureaucratic language, which can mean in practice anything you want it to. And then everything will be fine.

Or at least if others cooperate. The resolution states that "greater concerted regional and international support would assist the Iraqis in achieving a political solution and national reconciliation" and "the United States should engage nations in the Middle East to develop a regional, internationally sponsored peace and reconciliation process for Iraq."

Yes, it would and should. But it would and should also help the average porcine altitude if pigs could fly. Like the Iraq Study Group, the senators supporting the resolution are expressing pious hopes that very unlikely things will happen, that the governments of Iran and Syria will nurture tranquility and democracy in Iraq, that the French or the United Nations will come up with a recipe for Iraqi reconciliation that has somehow eluded us unsophisticated Americans. The pigs are up to 30,000 feet now.

"The main elements of the mission of United States forces in Iraq," reads the resolution, "should transition to helping ensure the territorial integrity of Iraq, conduct counterterrorism activities, reduce regional interference in the internal affairs of Iraq and accelerate training of Iraqi troops." Another bureaucratic fudge word -- "transition" -- which means that the resolution leaves the timeline for these things entirely open.

So the upshot of the resolution is that we should keep doing for some undetermined period of time pretty much what we have been doing, though it hasn't been working, and we should not do the different things that Petraeus thinks have a chance -- he's not guaranteeing success -- of working.

What the resolution tells us is that most members of Congress, echoing what they think is the view of most voters, yearn to return to the holiday from history that we thought we were enjoying between the fall of the Berlin Wall and Sept. 11, 2001. And that they have no idea at all of how to get there.

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Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM