The incompetence at the highest levels of government in Washington has undermined the U.S. troops who have fought honorably and bravely in Iraq, which is why the troops are now stuck in a murderous quagmire. If a Democratic administration had conducted a war this incompetently, the Republicans in Congress would be dusting off their impeachment manuals.
The entire Republican strategery seems to be to get us so screwed in Iraq that there's no way out, and then call Democrats appeasers for trying. And hope that no matter how bad the situation,
John Kerry Democrats are worse. Given that it's a re-run of the 2004 campaign, Karl and George trotted out the 9/11 meme (his version of SBVT on the American people) right on cue. The WH, I heard reported on cable, was shocked to find gambling in this casino Democrats upset about 9/11 language. I suppose they thought Dems would just roll over and play dead, while still fundamentally misunderstanding what 9/11 means.
2004 was not an election to be king. Europeans wanted those responsible brought to justice. But Bush was hired to root out Al Queda, catch bin Laden and make sure those responsible were taught that if they kill Americans, they were dead meat. Not subtle, but then Americans aren't known for doing nuance well.
So what now? The NY Times says:
No one wants a disaster in Iraq, and Mr. Bush's critics can put aside, at least temporarily, their anger at the administration for its hubris, its terrible planning and its inept conduct of the war in return for a frank discussion of where to go from here. The president, who is going to be in office for another three and a half years, cannot continue to obsess about self-justification and the need to color Iraq with the memory of 9/11. The nation does not want it and cannot afford it.
And some on the left are coming to grips with doing exactly that. Juan Cole brings up the need to understand the consequences of withdrawal... and Billmon looks at the alternatives and, explains why leaving is more of an option than knee-jerk reaction. And notes:
Is the war hopelessly lost? I tend to think so, although I'm realistic enough to admit that I don't have all the facts, and couldn't interpret them all correctly even if I did. I know there are some military analysts whose opinions I respect who think the war is lost -- analysts such as William S. Lind, who, for all his wing nuttery on cultural and social issues, is one smart cookie when it comes to "Fourth Generation" warfare:
"There's nothing that you can do in Iraq today that will work," said Lind, one of the original Fourth Generation Warfare authors. "That situation is irretrievably lost.
But the truth is the country is with Cole and the NY Times. Just about every poll says Bush was an idiot to get us there, but we're stuck and we can't just leave. And like it or not, politicians don't really lead. They find out which way the parade is headed and run to get to the front.
Until the country really understands what's happening, Bush's job approval numbers are likely to stabilize for a bit. But you can't fool all of then people all of the time, and the string is just about run out on Bush's Presidency. As everyone will tell you, don't just watch the Democrats in Congress, watch the republicans. Democrats might tell you the truth, but the Republicans up for election will be forced to act on it.