Tom Friedman, a New York Times columnist, appeared on a morning show recently to discuss his recent in-depth interview with President Barack Obama.

The host of the show, full of himself as always, quipped that “Europe seems to have been on vacation since 1991” — suggesting that the European nations have essentially sat out, for the most part, the squabbles and turmoil in Iraq, Gaza, Ukraine, Afghanistan and everywhere-else-istan — where we somehow simply must be consistently and intricately involved.

Perhaps it’s time to take a more European posture in the Middle East. Let some of these countries and/or tribes work it out for themselves, however bloody and distasteful we might view the process. Our country endured a bloody revolution and an even bloodier civil war. But we worked it out ourselves.

I recently got around to reading David McCullough’s “1776.” It seems that Gen. George Washington achieved more in the long run by retreating and deftly avoiding catastrophic no-win fiascos against overwhelming odds.

Accordingly, his ability to command was in great doubt. Desertion was rampant. It wasn’t until he collected his thoughts and opted to choose the time and place to engage — achieving small successes — did he begin to turn the tide and win the hearts and minds of a deeply divided populace.

How much more deeply divided can our populace be today? How much more fiasco can we afford?

I believe it’s time to consider a retreat and stay out of these horrendous hotbeds of hatred and hellfire. We should collect our thoughts before we talk about Iraq as a “20 or 30-year project” … really? I mean, really?

The definition of insanity comes readily to mind: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Quick! Will somebody please sound the retreat?

Buddy Doyle

Gardiner

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