I’ll even add a “by and large” or a “materially” for those who think that the title is a bit too strongly worded.
But it is time that this is absolute ridiculous reason for dumping billions more in money (haphazardly, I might add), neglecting those who DID attack the US on 9/11 (and its interests outside the US before that), neglecting our infrastructure, healthcare, education and costing hundreds of thousands of lives both here through such neglect and abroad as the disastrous civil war in Iraq continues to be on autopilot as no bold leader has the guts to stand up and utter the words (or similar words) in my title.
“If we leave now, things will get worse and they will follow us back here”.
I thought this was discredited long ago. But, it has reared its ugly head in full force as we anticipate the complete whitewash of a report issued by General Petraeus. Or more accurately, it will have his name slapped on it, although if he were to be honest, then nothing he says will actually be reflected in the report itself.
The Democratic Presidential candidates all dance around a withdrawal timetable or even a plan. As discussed in yesterday’s debate, and as so aptly noted in the Washington Post article, titled, Democratic Rivals Caution Against Swift Iraq Withdrawal, they miss a chance to really look at the larger picture. While there was good discussion about the differing opinions on the consequences of various plans, we still don’t get any real smackdown of the one line that is still sticking in much of the public’s mind and is being used as a hammer by republicans and talking meatsticks to keep the United States bogged down in a worsening situation just to save their political hides.
But admitting the truth is the first thing that needs to be done before we can even consider the “how” and “when” of leaving Iraq. And very few are doing so. Obama was right when he said that there are only bad options and worse options. Yet, we still don’t hear anyone calling pre-emptive “BULLSHIT!” on the farce of the “September report”. Obama is also correct in talking about the real danger that lies in Pakistan. Yet, chest thumping towards Pakistan isn’t going to do much either in the absence of some cold hard truth telling.
However, some of what Obama is saying needs to be said, and needs to be part of the truth telling. An article on Politico titled GOP recruits unafraid to sound hawkish might as well be titled “GOP recruits unafraid to sound like chest thumping short sighted idiots”. And it extends to Democrats such as Majority Whip Rep. Clyburn as well:
Former GOP Rep. Jim Ryun, running in a Republican-leaning Kansas district, also warned about the consequences of a withdrawal from Iraq. He said voters in the district, which includes Fort Riley and Fort Leavenworth, largely want to give the surge a chance.
"When you leave early in a situation that's not stabilized, you leave behind a worse situation," said Ryun. "We don't want the conflict to follow us home."
The report by Petraeus is shaping up to be a key moment for both parties in how candidates calibrate their rhetoric.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told The Washington Post last week that a positive assessment from Petraeus might keep conservative Blue Dog Democrats, many facing tough reelection bids, from endorsing a timetable for withdrawal.
And so it goes. Frankly, it is not only dishonest, but also is lazy. If you take this line of thought, you never have to make a tough choice. Just sound bites, platitudes and keep that head buried in the sand. The troops are already there, the situation is already a disaster beyond anyone’s wildest thoughts of how bad it could have gotten and taking the same lazy way out won’t raise anyone’s profile either.
If it was just there, it would be bad enough. However, we have talk radio host and OpEd columnist in the Dallas Morning News Mark Davis with this gem:
The current U.S. surge in Iraq may succeed enough to create new reserves of patience in a country once again tempted to give up. But even if it does not, we would do well to remember that the people we are fighting today want to follow us home.
At least there is this bit of honesty from The Indianapolis Star, which lays out just how this whole “lather, rinse, repeat” strategy of lying and Friedman Units has worked:
He (Bush) has tried one general after another. They all tell Mr. Bush what he wants to hear. If we don't beat them in Iraq, they'll follow us home. Also, we can win in Iraq if we don't suffer a lack of will and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Gen. David Petraeus is now in charge and he stays right on message: While there is a high price for staying in Iraq, including mounting American casualties, the price for leaving could be higher.
We are in the midst of a public relations surge by the Pentagon, timed to coincide with Gen. Petraeus' Sept. 15 report, and designed to persuade The Decider to extend this war once again. Just before the 2004 election, Petraeus published an op-ed article in The Washington Post in which he said, "Iraqi leaders are stepping forward, leading their country and their security forces courageously." He misled America then and I predict he'll do the same in September. But, then, Mr. Bush is so ready to be misled.
The problem here is that as things have gotten markedly worse in Iraq over the past few months, there has been a substantial decline in the US media reporting of what is going on. So the failures and disasters get buried, while the “we can’t leave or else we will be hit here” and “wait for the Petraeus report because I hear good things are going to be in the report” are all that is being said, reported and heard.
That is total crap, as we all know.
Leaving Iraq will be ugly. But the situation there was already really, truly ugly. And it is worse with each passing day. Our options have long been either “bad” or “worse”. But the “badness” of the bad options and the “worseness” of the worse options are getting, well, “badder” and “worser” as the can keeps getting kicked down the road.
Of course, much of this is qualified with a “yes, things have been bad, and there were poor decisions and a lack of planning, but……” In reality, there STILL is no plan – not even this escalation was a real plan, especially since there were no benchmarks met, the Iraqi government is a farce and the fighting is spreading to areas all over the country now. Besides, dishonesty is bad enough when lives are not being lost as a result.
And what will make things worse? What will increase the threat of being hit here in the US again? Well, many things that are getting buried as well:
- Giving $20 Billion to the Saudis, even though most suicide bombers in Iraq are Saudis. Not to mention that they are likely Sunnis, who were the insurgents until Bush realized that Iran was Shiite and therefore more of an enemy than those who had been blowing up our troops.
- Ignoring the bubbling disaster in Pakistan, where Al Qaeda (and presumably bin Laden if he is still alive) as well as the Taliban have reconstituted to launch attacks in Afghanistan;
- Thinking it is a good idea to throw billions of dollars at the lawless region of Pakistan where Al Qaeda and the Taliban are – to try and win the “hearts and minds” just like in Iraq;
- Having a presidential candidate declare that the US should bomb Mecca and Median “just to send a message” and not have him be censured or removed from Congress for making such threats;
- Arming the insurgents in Iraq, or at least those who “were” insurgents if they promise not to use their weapons on US troops, then LOSING nearly 200,000 of the weapons; and
- Declaring the entire de-facto Iranian military as a “terrorist organization” – just because.
You know, things like actually taunting extremists in a “Bring em on” kind of chickenhawk chest thumping way.
But until this line of thinking is demolished once and for all, it will continue to give America and its so-called leaders a pass to further its dishonest lack of debate and therefore keep us mired in Iraq – all while ignoring the real issues around the world and pretending that up is down and black is white.
We expect more, our troops expect more, and frankly, we can’t afford to have one more day of “if we leave they will follow us home”.
It’s a dishonest and cowardly line. And a deadly one.