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You've got to know when to fold 'em - Ed Brock

Never did I think I would be quoting Kenny Rogers, but sometimes you do have to know when to fold 'em.

You've got to know when to walk away, and know when to run.

We took a heck of a gamble going into Iraq to begin with. Bush seemed to be betting that American's ongoing stampede toward that invisible enemy temporarily incarnated by Osama bin Laden would allow him to run over Saddam Hussein and use Iraq as the nexus of American control over the Middle East. And if some old friends of his made a tidy profit, then that's all the better.

But it's over now. Whatever hope the U.S. had of restoring order to Iraq was blown to bits Friday in Fallujah. It was wearing an Iraqi police uniform.

Time to walk away before we have to run.

It doesn't really matter what happened. The troops involved in that debacle can take the explanation absolving them of responsibility home with them. They can chant it to themselves on the flight home and repeat it endlessly at parties.

"No, God, no, we didn't know they were cops, on our side! Look, we were dying over there every day! A bunch of guys came around the corner with machine guns and we, well, we took steps! Who are you to judge?!"

I'm not one to judge them. I'm not trying to, because it doesn't matter.

The damage is done and it will only get worse from here on out.

This war was a bad idea that keeps getting worse. It's done nothing to keep us safer from terrorism. If anything it's revitalized bin Laden's organization and given him something to rally more troops to his cause.

Just a few countries over, our supposed ally, Israel, is proving once again that the idea that terrorism can be fought with ruthlessness and a direct military approach is wrong, wrong, wrong. Israeli journalist Ben Caspit is pointing out what I mentioned some time ago, that Ariel Sharon's policy of targeted killing and striking at Hamas terrorist leaders regardless of the cost in lives of regular Palestinians is actually helping the Hamas cause.

"Hamas is losing infrastructure, fighters, planners, leaders and engineers but accumulating suicide attackers," Caspit wrote in an article printed in the Ma'ariv newspaper.

Of course Hamas is evil, of course Yassar Arafat has to go. But so does Sharon, because those men are both poison to their people.

And yet, that doesn't mean that either should be killed, and Israel's talk about "removing" Arafat is so blatantly stupid even Colin Powell is shaking his head.

Likewise, our quibbling with the United Nations in a pointless attempt to maintain our control over the Iraq project and this idea that our troops our doing good there are reasons George Bush needs to go next year. I don't see how the UN can mess things up there worse than we have, but they might just throw a gorilla-wrench in our newly formed puppet government.

How dare they think the Iraqis should make their own decisions?

Iraq is bubbling over like a burrito in a microwave and it behooves us to take it out before we wind up with beans all over our face.

Ed Brock covers public safety and municipalities for the News Daily. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 254 or via e-mail at ebrock@news-daily.com.