THE PROTEST by Cindy Sheehan in Crawford, Texas - while a wartime president takes a five-week vacation - posed a difficult question. Why was there a protest movement during that last quagmire in Vietnam but no equivalent has emerged today? Ms. Sheehan clearly touched a nerve.
But, nonetheless, why, after thousands of Iraqis and Americans killed and maimed, the increased risk of terrorism the war has fostered and the high probability of a civil war in its wake, do so many Americans remain quiet about this disaster?
I am not speaking about that percentage of the populace who defend the hubris of the Bush administration no matter its cost in lives, safety, money and noble American values. I am talking about those who now see that it was a horrible mistake, for which we and others will pay for generations.
Several reasons might be expressed for this silence. The first is that many who now see how mistaken the invasion was think we are trapped in a quagmire with no place to turn. There is, indeed, no easy way out, which is why it is so important to hesitate before invading another country.
But the United States could admit its mistake, beg forgiveness from the world, ask the United Nations to create a peacekeeping force and pledge a few hundred billion dollars to help fund that effort. That, it's arguable, would improve upon existing policy. Other alternatives also could be considered.
But many refuse even to entertain such a possibilities. Why? Inside the judgment that there is no way out, a second hesitation simmers. (MORE)