Just 70 days (same number as the virgins...) after achieving the purpose of the Iraq adventure (that would be the successful reelecton of the Imperium), the American government very quietly announced the termination of the mission of the Iraq Survey Group.
Simply put: the great snipe hunt for Saddam's weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist is now ignominiously over. Impressively, the former paper of record that continues to employ Judith "Warmonger" Miller, principal journalistic (so to speak) legitimizer of the "Saddam is really bad and no matter how many Midwestern rubes we kill in the process of removing him is fully justified no matter how tenuous the claim he has WMDs actually is..." now gives us this "quiet" story of the end of the Iraq Survey Group's work, fully backing up Charles Dalfour's report from last fall that Saddam had nuttin'. Despite the Dalfour report coming out before the election, the American people expressed their preference: preventing dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of gay couples from marrying was far more important than expressing outrage at a government whose incompetence had killed over a thousand of their countrymen on a fool's errand.
Knowing that the mission has been accomplished, the ball has been spiked, and the end zone party commences in just eight days time (unsportsmanlike conduct penalty be damned!), even White House spokesman and compulsive confabulator Scotty McClellan confirmed that Saddam had nothin'-- not secret caches deep underground, not moved to Syria... just nothin'. Doesn't mean the whole war wasn't justified (the Imperium WAS reelected, was it not?)
Well, most of the American people can go back to sleep. They know that the self-interestedness of GOP Congressmen and Senators who don't want to run against accusations that they destroyed social security or medicare, will probably keep those systems much as they are. And they can aspire to be rich enough to get into a lower tax bracket. And they can be glad that "moral values" such as cruelty to the poor, old and infirm will be safely preserved by the Government they went out of their way to restore to power.
Nancy Pelosi reacted precisely incorrectly to this (as I fully expected her to). To knee-jerk criticize the President for being wrong serves no purpose; after all, I have pointed out that the majority of Democratic senators voted to give Bush political cover for the war, even though Dems were then in the majority and could very well have prevented a vote entirely-- unless the President made a case for war. But political cowardice prevailed; Tom Daschle was deservedly unseated for it, and while John Kerry and John Edwards were deservedly punished for voting for the war in the first place, the American people voted not to punish the even more guilty Bush Administration.
IMHO, the appropriate response is to note that the war is not justified, and funding for the war should be terminated immediately and the boys and girls and moms and dads brought home as fast as they can be extracted from Iraq. The only relevant criteria should now be the safety of the extraction effort: trying to stabilize Iraq is a fool's errand. I suspect that the Bush Administration will begin a big draw down in just 18 days' time (same number as our voting age, not that any 18 year olds vote here!) right after the "election" (which will not be delayed, even if no one can vote in it). Sniping isn't good enough: we need action. And action is cutting off the bleeding of blood and treasure. We have already (thanks to the incompetence and hubris of our government... and the apathy of the American people that prefers government by the knee-jerk decisions of someone who never successfully achieved anything that wasn't handed to him by his Dad in his life) hopelessly destablized Iraq. We'd be pouring good blood and treasure after bad at this point: we blew it. Time to get out. Life will go on.
No, Democrats: now is the time to take a stand (join genuine coward Howard Dean in this) and call for a pullout-- NOW. BEFORE THE IRAQ ELECTION, when we'll do it anyway. NOW. TODAY. THIS EVENT IS THE JUSTIFICATION: WE NEEDN'T WORRY ABOUT IRAQI WMDS THAT DON'T EXIST.
Oh, you tease. You come so close -- PULLOUT. NOW. BEFORE THE IRAQ ELECTION -- and then push away. Come on. Say it, say it, say it: Let's get Saddam a decent trim, a new suit, and a manicure; give him empty apologies for killing Neil and Marvin (or was it VooDoo and UrDou) auto-penned on State Department letterhead; leave the place broom-swept clean as per the leases; and then in the middle of the night drop Saddam off via helicopter on the palace roof. It's Vietnam -- a little redux, a little revisionist. Maybe it'll work.
Posted by Miss Authoritiva at January 13, 2005 12:48 AM
While things are bleak for us in Iraq, pulling out now would likely result in civil war - further destabilizing the middle east, increasing the resentment of the Arab world toward us and giving various terrorist groups yet another justification for their recruitment efforts. It may be too late to make this thing actually work out well (which I think was possible, although I never supported the war and condemned the Democrats who voted - not for the war - for political cover for Bush), but pulling out now would make things worse. Yes, Americans are being killed because of the folly of Bush; but just as Bush needed cover to get into Iraq, we need cover to get out.
Posted by Tweed at January 13, 2005 7:39 AM
Are you insinuating the Iraqis would be better off if Saddam were in power? I'm long on record as saying just that... But, not as long as Junior is in the White House... family thing and all...
I used to believe that. But we are making it LESS STABLE BY BEING THERE. They will quickly sort out their affiars-- probably violently-- if we leave. If we stay, nothing good will happen. As a practical matter, however, Dems can say what they want now, and needn't worry about what actually happens. The fact is, Bush has created a hash. It can't be undone now. All we can do is not make it worse. FOR US. (IMHO)
Posted by the talking dog at January 13, 2005 8:32 AM
I am shocked by Bush calling off the search for WMD as I am by OJ's pursuit of the real killers.
You know, I think Bush is actually a bit ahead of the curve. Given the popularity of snap judgments fueled by the book Blink, our Commander was relying on thinking without thinking WAAAY before it became the hip thing to do. After all, not thinking is the new thinking.
What else can a line like "I am not going to debate myself" mean?
Also, lest this go unnoticed, even Rodeo crowds won't cheer when you incite them with lines like "I hope the President drinks the blood of every man, woman and child in Iraq."
Who'd a thunk it?
Posted by Tom at January 13, 2005 11:27 AM
I don't believe the Iaqis would quickly figure things out for themselves if we left. I think the Kurds would fight for independence (which could result in a Turkish invasion) and the two Islamic factions would battle it out for who knows how long. On top of that, there would be further divisions between those who would fight for an Iran style or Afghan style theocracy, and those more interested in a secular government. The only thing stopping this is the existence of 150,000 US troops (and the spattering of the coalition of the bribed and Great Britain). Regardless of the outcome, the resulting government would have no reason to consider the US an ally.
Posted by Tweed at January 13, 2005 1:30 PM
I'm not going to disagree with you; your analysis is consistent with Pentagon analyses (many of which concluded that "the best" we can hope for is "the status quo" of daily attacks on our troops, Iraqi police, and civilians blowing up; "the worst" would be the inevitable civil war, with us in the middle and having to take most uncomfortable sides).
My point was about what Democrats should be doing and saying. Democrats are now in the comfortable position of being where the Gingrich Republicans were in the early 90's: out of power.
We gots nothing to lose. The one tried and true tactic the American people seem to respect is to depict the party in power as arrogant and out of touch. We ain't doin' it.
WE MUST stop putting ourselves in a position to be depicted as the arrogant elite by a party that controls all branches of government. Pelosi keeps stepping in it, and she seems to be the only talking AT ALL.
Look: the Bush Administration is going to do what it's going to do-- FOR ITS OWN PURPOSES-- not for the purposes of this nation's interest, not for the Iraqi nation's interest-- but for the political interests of this crew. That's a given. That's why we're in Iraq in the first place.
As to Iraq-- THIS MORNING, Colin Powell suggested that our troops will begin heavy draw down (if not be gone) by year's end. So... if Democrats just whine about the President being wrong (them urban elite again, questioning that straight-talkin' Preznit) we step into it again... and lose a key scoring opportunity.
Remember George W. "I don't do nuance" Bush? Well, WE'VE GOT TO START DUMMING DOWN THE GOD DAMNED ARGUMENTS. The American people respect dumbness. They consider it "straight talking".
I AM NOT demeaning the American people: we are a tired, stressed out lot, working harder than ever, and really don't have time for complexities. We'll just have to make it palatable, i.e. easy: we want to STOP getting Jimmy and Tommy and Annie and Jose and our combat force of over 4-% reservists killed and bring them home NOW-- "we won"-- why are we still there?
Force Bush to defend his policy. He'll have to be all complicated and elitist and shit.
Posted by the talking dog at January 13, 2005 2:15 PM
THIS MORNING, Colin Powell suggested that our troops will begin heavy draw down (if not be gone) by year's end.
Hmmm. Colin said that? His prostatectomy scar must be twitching again. It's so hard to run scenarios involving the Bush people. It's like trying to translate a schizo's rants into linear thoughts; it takes a lot of effort and things still won't make sense. The Bushes do what they want to do when they want to do it. Trying to figure out WHY they blast off in the directions they do is pointless; we just have to choke off their fuel supply.
Posted by Miss Authoritiva at January 13, 2005 6:02 PM
Dog: could be you're right on the politics. I'm not convinced of it. There is a seductiveness to the position of "you broke it, you fix it," I'll grant you. Incidentally, Wampum nominated our old blog, Lickin Bush in 04, for the same award. Nice to know another under achiever.
Posted by Tweed at January 13, 2005 7:09 PM