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April 14, 2006


John Aravosis had a good post yesterday in which he set out the best Dem talking points on War with Iran. Here are the best three, with the first the best:

"1. George Bush is the wrong man to be launching yet another war.

"The same president who made a disaster out of the Iraq war now wants to launch another war with Iraq's neighbor, Iran. Bush has already proven he is incompetent at running an effective war. America simply cannot afford another rash Bush misadventure.

"2) Slow down, we've got ten years.

"America's intelligence community estimates that Iran is still ten years away from building a nuclear weapon. There is no reason we need to prepare for war in the next few months, or even before Bush's term runs out in 2008. Give diplomacy and the international community a chance. We've got years, not months.

"3) Since we have ten years, we can at the very least wait seven months until the congressional elections this fall.

"America needs a Congress that is going to look into Bush's claims about Iran's nuclear program and determine if those claims are even credible. The Republican-controled Congress has already shown that it is unwilling to provide any oversight on any matters involving the Bush administration. We need someone who isn't on George Bush's team to use their subpoena power to get administration officials under oath, review the evidence, and see if Bush is right this time around. That someone is a Democratically-controled Congress."

As I posted the other day, the Dems have less to fear from opposing Bush now than they apparently understand, and the LA Times bears this out. (Keep reading--the headline is about immigration, but the poll covers the gamut.)

So we've had Chuck Hagel and others speak out against War with Iran, but only Murtha among the Dems has been quoted as standing against a military option, and onlyJane Harman has at least publicly questioned its rationale. We need more Dems willing to demonstrate that they have the strength to take on America's enemies by showing that they can take on Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld on this new war.

More in the same vein from Greg Sargent at Tapped.

I think it would also be a good idea to focus on replacing Rumsfeld before there is another war. Not to imply that there should be. The military option on Iran is the worst of a series of bad options, but it is a guaranteed failure with Rumsfeld in charge. Moreover, it would force Bush and the GOP to defend the indefensible and buy some time to make the case that war (including so-called surgical air strikes) is not only against international law, and immoral, but would have unacceptable miltary, security and economic consequences.

There's some argument at Tapped, whether focusing on Rumsfeld allows Bush the easy option of bringing in a new Defense Secretary and getting his war on. With most people that would be true, but Bush is so determined not to do what any critic suggests that I think he'd rather the whole ship sink than give up Rummy. And Mimikatz is right, as usual: focusing on Rumsfeld while he's down allows a nearly-daily rehash of all the Iraq mistakes, as well as staving off Iran.

It's amazing to live in a time when the win-win positions favor our side.

Heh. If Rummy stays it's good for Dems and if he leaves it's good for Dems. Apparently we've learned to speak Mehlmanish.

Yoy do get that The Onion is satire right?

No, no, no. This is getting good!


I've been posting satire from the Onion for longer than there's been a Next Hurrah. But as usual, boy, does it fit.

Steve Gilliard has an interesting take on this. He's saying the Army is trying to distance itself from the coming disaster in Iraq. Institutional survival vs the political backlash. Murtha was the first wave, these generals are the second. Next: resignations.

Dunno, I think he's making it sound more coordinated than it is.

I wonder if Bush's apparently stalwart defense of Rummy is really a matter of greasing the skids. ``I defended you as best I could, but those mean old generals would stop complaining, so you're out of here Donald.'' I suppose not, but it is something Rove might suggest.

If Congress can declare war, don't they also have the power to declare NOT war?

At least you can't say that the Bush Administration isn't consistent. It has consistently provided us with more miserable failures than any other Administration in the Modern Era, from the President to the Vice-President to the Secretary of Defense and on down the line. Not only are they incompetent but they do not exhibit any semblance of the good judgement required in their positions.

I'd like to take the other side of any bets of the guy who opined that Donald Rumsfeld was a managerial and strategic genius.

I suspect now is the time to focus on Senator John Warner (and Senator Carl Levin) -- chair and ranking member of Senate Armed Services. At the least there ought to be a demand for extensive and public hearings with the recently retired Generals as witnesses. It is better to have an on the record official forum for their criticism than to leave it to ad-hoc opinion pieces or CNN interviews.

But I also agree much of this criticism may well be an effort to avoid having the army scapegoated if and when withdrawal occurs. This war has eaten a huge hole in the army and much of the National Guard, and Rumsfeld has no budget plans to repare these things. (Virtually every state Governor would join the Generals if they added this to their critique). Of great importance, the issue has to be made salient to what we will be voting about this year -- Congressfolk. Democrats can only benefit from pointing out that a congress that avoids its oversight responsibility is a congress that allows Iraq-like misdirected missions.

Both Chris Matthews and Olberman had people on who said that there are a flurry of e-mails among current and retired military and discussions of possible resignations and the circumstances in which they would be appropriate and effective, so there is apparently some coordination.

I think it is a combination of the military genuinely being fed up with Bush/Rumsfeld/Cheney; the memory of Vietnam when the military brass didn't speak up about what they believed was incompetent civilian leadership and meddling; and a desire to protect the institution. They are apparently outraged (rightly) by statements such as Rice's that there were "tactical" errors but no mistakes back at DC, because it puts the onus of failure on them. (Who ordered the disbanding of the Iraqi Army? Who demanded full retaliation in Fallujah?)

They want to make it clear that when, for example, Shinseki said it would take 300,000 troops to do what Bush wanted, he was really saying "we can't do it with the Army we have, so don't ask us to." Sometimes with the Army you have, you don't go to war, at least not the kind they attempted.

ah, the onion

the best reporting on the bush administration in print.

utter folly precisely depicted

and we get a laugh to boot.

A point that needs to be honored is General Batiste's sacrifice to speak out. The man turned down a 3rd Star so that he could stand up to Rumsfeld! That's unheard of and affects not only his Pension, but his prestige. And why did he do it? For his men and because he feels that Iraq is too important to fail! Those who disparage what he did have no shame and they deserve whatever contempt we can give them.

While I don't agree with his view on Iraq (that it's not beyond hope), you have to honor him for what he's done.

This in contrast to what I saw on Hardball yesterday. General Tommy Franks was not only defending Rummy, but what he said about the Civilian leadership (in response to a question form Matthews) made me gag. I recall him saying that Doug Feith was one of the stupidest phucking human beings on the face of the planet (or a similar insult) and last night he of course said no such thing. I kept wondering how many shares of Caryle he got for shilling when they needed him to.

Franks is a Bush toadie. Batiste is a soldier. Big difference.

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