Watch CBSN Live

Iraq: A Bonfire Of Our Vanity?

This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

So now what?

President Bush went to Amman, Jordan, looked the Iraqi prime minister in the eye and declared that he's the right man for the job.

OK, let's pretend we didn't see the story about Bush national security adviser Stephen Hadley that said Nouri al-Maliki isn't cutting it. That's quite an endorsement, really — despite a failing performance review, you still receive the seal of approval.

Back in Washington, the Iraq Study Group has come up with a plan that says we'd better start pulling our troops out soon so the Iraqis know we're serious. I know Iraq is the Gordian knot of foreign policy conundrums, but that's the big idea hatched out of all that research and all those meetings?

Is the president even interested? I'm sure he'll take a look. But the truth is, extracting yourself from a country that's involved in a "civil war" — Colin Powell's words, not mine — is messy. The U.S. invasion was like a match to kindling. Iraq is a bonfire of our vanity, and no one knows how to extinguish it.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.
View CBS News In