Since I am a glutton for punishment and obviously didn’t get enough this weekend, I will be so bold as to provide my observations here that this showdown between Bush, Cheney, Lieberman and McCain and the rest of the entire world is the beginning of the end of this disastrous occupation of Iraq. The question is no longer “if” but “when” and “how”.
And before you skip down to the comment section to rip me a new one, please allow me to explain. We were already at a point in November where there was enough of a movement for some sort of redeployment or plan for an exit strategy from Iraq. So much so that this was one of the bigger reasons why the republicans were booted from their majority in Congress. Over the past few months, there has been a growing dissatisfaction over the occupation itself, as well as the ever increasing bloodshed, and the handling of this occupation by the administration (last polls were around 70% dissatisfaction).
Now, with the new Congress in session and pretty much only the four people noted above in favor of escalation, and the increasingly scary rhetoric about more war with Iran or Syria, Bush and the neocons’ have overreached to the point where there is not only a near-unified Democratic party front against an escalation (and threats of a Constitutional crisis) but more and more republicans who are seeing this as quite possibly the last chance for them to keep this administration from ruining their party for decades to come.
Call me optimistic. Call me shortsighted. But I think there is reason to be. The public is fed up with the death and destruction. The public is fed up with the lies. In diary after diary, there are accounts of republican family members and friends saying “enough is enough already”. In newspapers all around the country (as well as around the world) there is pretty much unanimous opposition to the folly that is Bush’s “new way forward”.
And the articles are far from kind or even “fair and balanced”. Take this AP article that I read on my way into work today:
President Becoming Increasingly Isolated
President Bush once said he was determined to stick with the Iraq war even if his wife and his dog were the only ones left at his side.
It's moving in that direction.
"He is as isolated as a president can be," said Julian Zelizer, a political historian at Boston University.
Likewise, Zelizer said the now-open revolt of increasing numbers in Bush's own party could be "very dangerous" for the president.
It makes it much more difficult for Bush to get support during the final two years of his presidency, increases the likelihood his policies will be seen by history as a mistake and puts his party in a very difficult position leading up to 2008, Zelizer said.
As I said above, republicans care about power. Getting it, and holding onto it. Don’t think that they don’t (privately if not publicly) blame Bush and this administration for their losses in November. And don’t think that they won’t do everything possible to disavow their rubber stamp support of the administration’s policies to not only try and save face, but also to keep their own careers.
As for the troops who have been sent to kill and die for these lies aren’t all that thrilled either, as we have seen a number of stories about the pain and anger for families as well as the servicemen and women who are being deployed or whose tours are (yet again) being extended. BarbinMD has a good roundup of the reaction by a number of troops who are either already in Iraq to Bush’s latest catastrophic mistake.
The farce that is the “Democrats don’t have another credible plan” meme is completely out the window and has been exposed for the disgrace that it is as well. Not only did SusanG tear right through this one yesterday, but articles like yesterday’s Washington Post’s Opposition to Iraq Plan Leaves Bush Isolated and today’s USA Today article titled Bush, Cheney Say Congressional Opposition Won’t Halt Troop Buildup are very important for a few reasons.
First, note that the USA Today article says “Congressional opposition” as opposed to “Democratic opposition”. A small but very big difference here as the discussion has shifted from partisan divide to bi-partisan resistance. The Washington Post article also points out Democratic alternative plans on Iraq:
The bipartisan opposition to President Bush's troop-increase plan has proved more intense than his advisers hoped and has left them scrambling to find support, but the White House is banking on the assumption that it can execute its "new way forward" in Iraq before Congress can derail it.
"We recognize that many members of Congress are skeptical," Bush said in his radio address yesterday, adding: "Members of Congress have a right to express their views, and express them forcefully. But those who refuse to give this plan a chance to work have an obligation to offer an alternative that has a better chance for success. To oppose everything while proposing nothing is irresponsible."
Many Democrats, in fact, have proposed alternatives centered around pulling out troops, an idea Bush flatly rejects. So hopes for a bipartisan consensus after Democrats captured Congress in the November midterm elections have evaporated, and Bush appears more isolated than ever.
I’ll also point out the little nugget that the Iraq Study Group Report spent the past five weeks on the NY Times bestseller list. So the public is well aware of “other plans”.
As many of these articles are from the AP, they are in newspapers all across the country as well as around the world (as you can see from this google search). Just look at the headlines:
Belfast Telegraph:Bush faces mutiny over extra troops for Iraq
The Telegraph (India)White House isolated on Iraq blueprint – more troops a mistake
NY Times: Newly in the minority, GOP shows signs of division on Iraq and domestic policies
Coshocton Tribune (Ohio) Fallacies in “new” Iraq plan
Guardian (UK): Bush Refuses to Waiver on Iraq Troop Plan
Seattle Times: Congress can’t stop buildup, Bush says
LA Times:Bush insists Congress can’t halt troop buildup
While this is not a major publication, I do respect the Center for Research on Globalization: Bush’s New Plan: More troops, more death, more – and wider – war.
And while there are so many more, I’ll end with my favorite headline from today: Independent Online, South Africa: My thick hide insulates me, says Bush
This escalation may or may not happen – it is pretty likely to happen in some form, at least initially. But make no mistake – this is the beginning of the end to this occupation. Nobody else believes that there are “no other credible plans”. Nobody else wants us to NOT negotiate with Iran and Syria. Nobody else wants us to bomb Iran. And nobody else wants this disgrace of an occupation to continue, let alone escalate.
Most Democrats have been against this for a while. More and more republicans are seeing the occupation and escalation tied to their future political survival and prospects. And the writing is more than on the wall. This is the beginning of the end of this occupation. It may take more time than we would like, but it will start to come to an end. There will soon be talk of phased withdrawal or redeployments. Of an exit strategy.
Mark my words.