If you think of Iraq as an old-fashioned amusement park carousel with the horses and rest of the menagerie rising and falling in organ-music syncopation as it rotates, the events of the last several days would have sent it spinning so fast that it would be a blur. And as for the riders? Only the toughest won't be thrown off.
President Bush worked on earning a new moniker -- The Refuser -- in drawing a big line in the sand at a time when taking a deep breath, as well as a cue from the reality-based community, seemed wise.
He refused to acknowledge that his own national security advisor had written a secret memo stating that Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Maliki is seemingly not be capable of keeping Iraq together.
He refused to contemplate troop withdrawals even if the Iraqis didn't get their bloody house in order.
He refused to stop telling The Big Lie -- that the U.S. is in Iraq to fight Al Qaeda -- when the reality is that the terrorist group insinuated intself into the war well after the invasion and primarily because of Rumsfeld's botched occupation.
He refused to acknowledge that Iraq is in civil war despite a mounting chorus of voices, most recently that of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, that the violence in Iraq met that standard.
He refused to entertain opening lines of communication with Iran and Syria with the treat of the war spilling over into the Middle East seeming to be greater than ever.
And he said he'd refuse any Iraq Study Group recommendation that didn't comport with his own fantasy world.
Said Iraq Study Group, according to a published report, refused to propose a timetable for a complete troop withdrawal.
The Pentagon refused to comment on a report that about $2 billion worth of equipment, from rifles to tanks, is wearing out or being destroyed every month, about a quarter of the total per month cost of the war.
Refusing to accept reality, retired Army General Barry McCaffrey said that "we've got 24 months" to better equip and train the Iraqi army and police. The reality, of course, the army is a dissolute mess despite all the training to date and the police already are in the fight -- working with Shiite militias to exterminate Sunnis.
Meanwhile, Al-Maliki, upset over disclosure of the memo, refused to meet with Bush on the opening day of their sitdown in Jordan.
Moqtada Al-Sadr, the anti-American Shiite cleric and Al-Maliki's puppet master, refused to call off a boycott of the government after the prime minister disobeyed him and flew to Jordan.
Finally, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, told visiting Iraqi President Jalal Talabani that he refused to accept the status quo and declared that the first step toward securing Iraq was the “exit of the occupiers.”
Round and round the carousel goes. Where it stops no one knows.