Okay, end of rant (EOR). And on to some commentary about other matters in the news:
President Bush said on Wednesday terrorists had converged on Iraq and that pulling U.S. troops out "would only embolden them". Now before you criticize me as a left-wing liberal, hear me out. I support the troops, and I agree that we have made some progress in giving the Iraqi people a better way of life, laid the groundwork for democracy, and started rebuilding their infrastructure (despite the excesses and waste of a certain company who shall remain nameless). But at what cost have we given the Iraqi's what they have gotten? It grieves me to see our military ground down on a yearly basis in a country where, despite the gains we've made, we've put our troops in harm's way because the justifications for the war have repeatedly shifted as the evidence for them has turned up empty. We ignored the risks (which were identified), prior to going to war, and we made some very bad assumptions about the conditions in Iraq following it, one of which was assuming that when the war was over, the fighting would be over as well and the troops could be brought home immediately.
Our situation in Iraq is rather like the story of the monkey that reached into a jar to grab a handful of nuts. Unfortunately, in grabbing a handful, the monkey realized he couldn't pull his fist out of the jar. Likewise, we've created a situation where we have no choice but to stay the course in Iraq; to leave now would likely lead to further destabilization and probably civil war. But we'll pay a price for what we've started.