As U.S. policy in the oil-rich region spins out of control, the stark choice confronting the American people will be whether the country can stand two more years of this or whether it's time for Bush to go.
George W. Bush had a point when he disparaged the Baker-Hamilton commission's plan for gradual troop withdrawals from Iraq by saying "this business about graceful exit just simply has no realism to it whatsoever." It's now obvious that there can be no exit from Iraq -- graceful or otherwise -- as long as Bush remains President.
And, oh yes, the Iraq War was not started by Islamic militants who hate peace but by George W. Bush.
In other words, Bush still insists on living in a world of ideology and made-up facts, not one of reality and pragmatism. Bush has fixed in his mind what his neoconservative advisers sold him on in 2001 -- and he can't break with that.
Bush appears not to have budged one inch from his longstanding hostility toward any questioning of his war judgments. He is determined to keep U.S. troops in Iraq regardless of the will of the American people or anyone else.
So, given Bush's rhetoric and actions, there is little reason to believe that he intends to reverse course. If anything, he will continue toying with notions about expanding the conflict by bombing Iran's nuclear facilities or seeking escalation of political confrontations with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.
That means that by 2009, whoever becomes the next President will face a likely conflagration in the Middle East, with the real possibility that Bush will have enflamed Islamic radicalism so much that the region's few pro-U.S. pillars -- such as the Saudi royal family or the Egyptian dictatorship -- will be tottering if not already fallen.
Disruptions of Middle East oil supplies could wreak havoc on the U.S. and world economies. Plus, Bush might end up precipitating just the grim vision that he has long articulated -- an interminable world war pitting the West against large segments of the planet's one billion Muslims.
Faced with this looming catastrophe, the congressional Democrats may have no choice but to reconsider what incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others have ruled "off the table," the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
Indeed, Bush's cavalier dismissal of the key Baker-Hamilton recommendations creates a possible framework for a bipartisan impeachment effort.
A less confrontational approach could be Republican and Democratic pressure on Bush and Cheney to agree to sequential resignations, replacing Cheney first with a new Vice President who would then assume the presidency upon Bush's resignation.
As unlikely -- and extreme -- as these scenarios may sound, the future of the American Republic may demand nothing less.
If Bush cannot come to grips with reality -- and adopt a less ideological approach toward the Middle East -- there may be no realistic choice but for the American people and their elected representatives to make clear that it's time for him to go.
If our country is to have any future, it depends on Bush and Cheney departing. The earlier the better. I think it would help our world standing immensely if we chucked 'em out the door and got someone - anyone - who has at least some idea of reality.