By now, it is patently obvious that basically all of the rosy news on Iraq is false, distorted, irrelevant to the big picture and frankly insulting to the intelligence of anyone that even has a cursory knowledge of the NIE report, the unedited GAO report as well as all of the news about bombings, killings, sectarian cleansing and lack of progress by the Iraqi government in meeting any of the benchmarks that were laid out earlier this year.
Yet, to add insult to injury (and mounting deaths), Mister Bush and many republicans are looking to “market and sell” the ideas of good news and progress in an attempt to justifying another $200 billion dollars and thousands more of our troops’ lives over the next fifteen months – at a minimum.
Of course, we already know what the House Minority Leader thinks of our troops’ lives, and we know what one of the leading republican Presidential candidates thinks when it comes to his own sons “serving their country”. What is most baffling to me is that, over the past few days, even as basically all reports I have read, seen or heard indicate that facts contradict the rosy assessments of “progress” in Iraq, this is still being framed in terms of Bush (or whoever else) trying to “sell success”. If this isn’t the most dishonest and disingenuous of things to do to our troops, then I really am hard pressed to think of something that is.
It is sad that it took a republican Senator (Warner) to ask General Petraeus if the situation in Iraq is making America safer, and it is sadder that Petraeus said that he didn’t know. Apparently, even some republicans are feeling a bit queasy about Bush’s rosy assessment and snake oil salesman imitation.
And now, we are on the precipice of a substantial debate on just which direction to go in Iraq. This past month, the “hard sell” that we have been subjected to really showed precisely how little so many of our elected leaders care about our troops in Iraq. Still no mission, still no talk about exactly what our troops are supposed to be doing in Iraq, still no talk about a bill that will address proper rest or equipment or a timeline for them to leave.
Every single member of Congress at least is aware of what is going on in Iraq. They have seen the numbers in terms of troop casualties, they voted on bills for withdrawals, for proper rest, armor and equipment, and nearly all of them know that Petraeus said back in March that there is no military solution in Iraq. Despite the “catapulting of propaganda” over the past few weeks while Congress was in recess, somehow, many more people are aware of the real and true assessments of this “success” in Iraq. Yet, many are still resigned to a continuation of the same lack of strategy and policing of a civil war, leaving our troops as sitting ducks for attacks.
It seems as though we are being set up for another round of moving the bar and not one, not two but three more Friedman Units. Rahm Emanuel recently said that “George Bush has one strategy at this point, to make sure Iraq is someone else's problem”. Yet, there have been numerous Democratic House and Senate members (including Levin, Clinton, Obama, Clyburn, Baird, Durbin and McNerney) who have talked about continuing to leave our troops stranded and abandoned in Iraq by not taking the steps to get our troops out and not have a significant ongoing presence in Iraq.
Long term, that is one thing and is bad enough. However, when we are talking about our troops – the brave men and women who are doing all that is asked of them at least ten times over – anything other than fully funding a withdrawal of our combat troops within short order and dismantling our permanent bases is nothing more than abandoning our troops in Iraq.
There are a good number of Democrats who will be voting against any form of “compromise bill”, a bill which does little more than compromise our morals and values more than they have already been compromised. What is interesting is that there will likely be a good number of republicans who will vote against any bill with even nonbinding and toothless recommendations.
Public sentiment has not really changed all that much – even though there may have been a temporary uptick in the lies and lipstick on a pig pleas for “buying more time” to “continue the progress” – this too will fade quickly as the deaths and attacks continue to mount. Even still – even if this uptick wasn’t temporary, there is still an overwhelming view that we should be taking substantial and significant steps towards getting our troops out of Iraq much sooner than January 2009. Regardless of whether people are thinking there has been some progress – these people still don’t think that there has been enough progress to stay indefinitely.
And even if there was progress, that is all the more reason that we should be talking about a larger and real drawdown of our troops. We are now anxiously awaiting what comes out of Congress over the next few days and weeks with respect to the $200 billion request by Mister Bush to pass the Iraq disaster that was created and enabled and fostered off to someone else.
Congress was overwhelmingly unimpressed with Petraeus’ testimony. More republicans with nothing to lose (or their jobs to lose) are starting to talk about voting against abandoning and stranding our troops at least until 2009. Many in Congress talk about having to continue dumping hundreds of billions of dollars into Iraq. Their justification is that by not doing so, they would be abandoning the troops.
Too bad they have it backwards. To vote for anything other than funding a withdrawal is abandoning our troops.
There is no other way to put it and be honest.