Consider this post an open letter to Senate Democrats.
You're really doing a poor job in the public debate over Iraq.
Luckily, unlike what's imagined by the imbeciles who write The Note
and others in Washington, reality is not simply a DC media and politics confection. The Dems can muff this several times before coming back and getting it right. And they'd still be more or less fine. Because the Iraq War is still really unpopular. And the great majority of the country has lost faith in President Bush's conduct of the war.
But that's still no excuse for handling this so poorly.
The Democrats have to be much more aggressive. But 'more aggressive' doesn't mean a quicker withdrawal. It means making your point forcefully, on your own terms, repeatedly.
But they're not doing that.
What I see is Republicans on TV repeating their 'cut and run' charges. And to the extent I see Democrats, it's Democrats denying the charge. No, we're not for cutting and running.
The president wants to stay in Iraq for at least three more years. It's not that he won't set a date to withdraw. He doesn't even have a plan that gets to the point where the US could end the occupation. In practice he wants to stay in Iraq forever. What Repubicans are voting for is More of the Same
, More of the Same failed policy.
Let's work through a bit of this. If the president had a plan for success he would say, 'I plan to get X, Y and Z done and then we're going to bring American troops back home. I expect those three things will be accomplished by the middle of 2007.' Or maybe he'd say 2008 or the beginning of 2009.
But he doesn't say any of those things. When he says we're staying in Iraq as long as he's in the White House he makes clear that he doesn't have any plan other than staying in Iraq. Other than staying there indefinitiely or basically forever. Isn't it possible his 'plan' could work and have us out in 2008? Obviously, he's discounted that possibility because, again, he has no plan
For my part, I'd rather put more troops into Iraq than leave the status quo
, as long as there was a clear plan for bringing the war and occupation to a satisfactory conclusion. The thing is that the status quo
is morally indefensible because it just means continue to burn through men and money for a failed policy because President Bush isn't capable of admitting his policies have failed.
He's like an owner of a business that's slowly going under. He doesn't know how to save the situation. So he won't get more money or resources to fix the business. That's throwing good money after bad. And he won't just liquidate and save what he can, because then he'd have to come to grips with the fact that he's failed. So his policy is denial and slow failure. Here of course the analogy to President Bush is rather precise since he only has to hold out until 2009 when he can give the problem to someone else, just as he did in his past life with other businesses he drove into the ground.
But for the country that's not acceptable. We don't have a policy except for slow burn and denial. And the president's ego isn't enough to ask men and women to die for. We need an actual plan. And the president doesn't have one.
Democrats need to hammer this point again and again and not get tripped up in the president's bully-boy rhetoric. The president has no plan. He wants to stay in Iraq forever. He says for at least three more years. All the Republicans agree they want more of the same.
No one wants that in this country. All the Democrats have to do is get up on the airwaves and say it. Again and again.
Even the side with an insipid argument can take the day if the other side remains unheard.