Weekly commentary by CBS Evening News chief Washington correspondent and Face the Nation host.
I am still not sure that I believe it: The Iraqi parliament is going on vacation during the month of August.
The White House offers the lame excuse that, after all, Baghdad is hot in August – sometimes 130 degrees.
May I ask a follow-up?
How much hotter do you suppose it is if you are a wearing a helmet, full body armor, carrying ammunition and walking foot patrols through Baghdad?
The last I heard, that is how American troops are spending their August in Iraq.
For me, this does it.
God help the Iraqi people because there is not much America can do to help a government that leaves Americans dying in the streets while the parliament escapes to cooler climes.
Does this mean we should pull out immediately?
No. A sudden withdrawal could set the entire region aflame. The truth is there are no good options left. But from here on, we need to put aside the dream of building a democracy in Iraq and focus solely on what is in our national interest.
It won't be pretty, but for all our good intentions, about all we can do now is try to contain this mess, pull our troops back from the middle of this civil war, and concentrate instead on the terrorist threat that this country faces around the world.
As for what kind of government Iraq needs, let their parliament figure it out. They can get right on it when the Baghdad weather turns cooler.
By Bob Schieffer