Political schemes are afoot as congress anticipates the report to be delivered by David Petraeus this Monday. Our pitiful and pathetic democracy has been reduced to outsourcing its national security policy to a general with a history of erroneous assessments about progress in Iraq. This is what Petraues wrote in his opening paragraph for an op-ed in the Washington Post on September 26, 2004:
“Helping organize, train and equip nearly a quarter-million of Iraq's security forces is a daunting task. Doing so in the middle of a tough insurgency increases the challenge enormously, making the mission akin to repairing an aircraft while in flight -- and while being shot at. Now, however, 18 months after entering Iraq, I see tangible progress. Iraqi security elements are being rebuilt from the ground up.”Think about it. Three years ago he claimed tangible progress was being made inside Iraq and this very same man’s testimony is being anticipated with more reverence than Moses upon his return from Mt. Sinai.
It has come to this because nobody believes a word President Bush says anymore while the so-called opposition Democratic Party suffers from battered wife syndrome. Meanwhile, Republicans in congress are desperate for cover yet still hoping they can turn their jingoism knife into Democrats as they did after Vietnam. Hence, Bush needed a new medals wearing puppet to serve as his mouthpiece while members of congress are poised to either exploit the veneer of Petraeus’s medals or cower behind the weasel words of "bipartisanship."
It’s a sick kabuki dance. Congressional Republicans want to save face and ensure their survival in the post Bush era. If they can sign onto bipartisan legislation that establishes a force reduction as a goal without a mandated target date for withdrawal, they will have the cover and save face. And later they can always turn on the Democrats with their jingoism knife when the moment is right for “losing Iraq.”
Democrats are hoping to implement a strategy of bleed and win. They oppose the war rhetorically but don’t have the nerve to follow through where it counts and cutoff funding. The Iraq war has served Democrats well, driving down Bush’s ratings and filling up party coffers. I’m not so sure they really want it to end at this point.
So after Petraeus delivers his report, enough Republicans will likely join Democrats on legislation that won’t end the war. Yes some forces will be reduced next year out of logistical necessity and the Democrats will claim they forced “a change.” But the war will go on still and more will die for no good reason. A political solution with regional input that also includes Iraq’s neighbors contributing to reconstruction is the only way to go and can’t happen with our toxic presence.
Watching this insanity I can’t help but think of Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone. Senator Wellstone, along with his wife and daughter tragically died in a plane crash on October 25, 2002. Five years ago the political climate was very different. Yet Wellstone, with the political winds in his face during a tough re-election fight didn’t waver. Prior to voting against authorizing the use of force in Iraq, Wellstone simply said,
“I’m not making a decision I don’t believe in.”Sadly, too many members of congress don’t possess the Wellstone standard about their decisions. Most are content to let the war go on and score political points to their advantage as best they can. They care little for the blood that is shed. Unlike Wellstone, the prestige and perks of power matter more to them. Both parties are hoping to implement a strategy of bleeding in Iraq while winning at the ballot box.
I worked my butt off to elect Democrats in 2006 but to this point they only seem to care about “bleeding and winning.” They're not inclined to make policy decisions based on what’s right like Paul Wellstone. But hopefully there are enough Democrats who can be forced to acknowledge the will of the people. Perhaps not but we still have to try.
Most Republicans of course are beholden to a crazy constituency that wouldn’t know the truth if it hit them in the face with an exploding cannon ball. Sadly, too many Republicans are feculent and completely beyond redemption. Some of their senators however may serve in states with enough blue leaning voters that they can’t simply dismiss antiwar sentiments. A few house Republicans are feeling heat too.
Click here to contact your senator and here for your representative in the House of Represenatives. Let them know you've had enough of their "bleed and win" gambits. It's time to bring the troops home.