A letter sent on December 7, 2006:
As usual, I woke up early this morning and started reading both straight news accounts and opinion on the topic du jour. Today, it is the Baker-Hamilton Report. I read your column about half-way into my allotted time, and then I read the executive summary of the report itself. I'm now past my time allotment for the morning, but I'm going to try to get some semi-coherent thoughts to you anyway. And as I'm late for work, um, once again...I'll blame the traffic ;)
When I read your column the first time, I viewed it through my the-media-hate-Bush-and-would-rather-us-lose-the-war lens. I took particular exception to your last sentence that the purpose of the report is to: "enable the United States to begin to move its combat forces out of Iraq responsibly.''
Then, I read the report itself. Funny, at least from the executive report, that's not what I gathered. What jumped out at me was the authors' belief that pursuing different policies can "give Iraq an opportunity for a better future, combat terrorism, stabilize a critical region of the world, and protect America's credibility, interests, and values."
I can live with that.
David, the other thing that struck me about the executive summary was the real appeal for reconciliation and bipartisanship here in America in regard to the debate on the war in Iraq. Wouldn't that be nice? Finally, I noticed - at least in the executive summary - a real lack of finger pointing at President Bush. You wouldn't have picked that up in the coverage of the report, though, from yesterday and today.
It is time, David, to stop the one-sided "It's Bush's fault" approach to debating the war. It's time, as you pointed out, to acknowledge the hard facts of the current situation. But it is not yet time to list our only goal as enabling our combat forces to move out of Iraq. The report lists a few other worthy goals as well.
If my son can't get it done. Hopefully, my grandson will.
It's going to take a long time.