Leaks from a U.S. task force headed by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III are contributing to the widespread sense that the Bush administration is preparing for a "course correction" in the coming months.
The options cited most frequently in Washington include the partition of Iraq into three ethnic- or faith-based regions, and a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops, with some remaining in neighboring countries to deal with major threats.
Another scenario is being discussed -- and taken seriously in Iraq -- by many of Iraq's leading political players, under which the U.S.-trained army would overthrow struggling Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and replace him with a strongman who would restore order while Washington looks the other way.
After each reason got exposed for the lie that it was, some Republican hack would pop up with a new one, while simultaneously using criticism for Republican failures as a blunt instrument on Democrats. Like some sort of morbid whack a mole game, the philanthropic venture of "bringing democracy to the Middle East" is being seriously considered tossed aside, and replacing it with a ruthless dictator. Never mind all the preaching about purple fingers and all.
I hear Saddam is available.