Monday, June 26, 2006

Despite it Being the Worst Military Blunder in U.S History, the GOP Sees Iraq War as Campaign Opportunity. Am I Missing Something?

Sixteen U.S. soldiers were killed last week in Iraq, bringing the June total to 46. Sunday alone 29 Iraqis were killed in the escalating violence. On Saturday the NY Times reported that the tony Mansour district of Baghdad--like many of the city's western areas--has basically fallen to insurgents, seeming more like "wartime Beirut" than the peaceful affluent area it once was. On Sunday, Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki unveiled a plan to offer limited amnesty to insurgents. That same day Japan began pulling out its 550 troops. The killing of al-Zarqawi, like the many failed milestones before it, clearly has done nothing to lessen the violence and weaken the insurgency, and the war continues to spiral out of control, with no end in sight, and with the country teetering on the brink of large-scale civil war. According to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, when asked whether they'd be more or less likely to vote for a 2006 presidential candidate who favors a complete pullout within 12 months, 54% of respondents said "more likely" while just 32% said "less likely." Add all this up and it spells political disaster. But to the Republican Party, this debacle spells progress and success. And, incredibly, it's this debacle that they plan to make a cornerstone of their re-election campaign theme. Either they've totally moved their headquarters to DelusionVille, or they must know something we don't.

Last week Republicans defeated two Democratic resolutions to bring the troops home. One, sponsored by Sen. John Kerry (MA) and Sen. Russell Feingold (WI), called for complete withdrawal by July 1, 2007 and was defeated 86-13. The other, put forth by Sens. Carl Levin (MI) and Jack Reed (RI), was more of a compromise effort, a non-binding resolution urging the Bush administration to begin withdrawing troops but with no set timetable, and it lost by a vote of 60-39. The prior week, both the GOP-controlled House and Senate voted to "stay the course," which has become the Bushevik wartime mantra. In a 256-153 vote, the House approved a non-binding resolution that praised the troops, established Iraq as the central front in the war on terror, and refused to set a timetable for withdrawal. The day before, the Senate, in a 93-6 vote, defeated a measure that called for allowing "only forces that are critical to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces" to remain in Iraq in 2007.

So what gives with the Repugs? They are now embracing the war whole-hog. What do they know about it, or its political currency, that's getting them excited about November? The answer is simple: as it was in 2004, it's all about lies, deception and fear-mongering. A masterful campaign to scare the bejesus out of Americans. It's Karl Rove's game plan, and it worked like a charm before. The question is, will it work again? The Repugs are banking heavily on it.

Listen to the rhetoric; to the character assassinations. Close your eyes and it's '04 all over again. Witness the Swift-boating attacks on Kerry and Rep. John Murtha (PA), branded as "cut and run" cowards. Listen as VP Dick Chickenhawk warns that the Kerry/Murtha withdrawal plans tell the world that "Americans don't have the stomach for this fight" (a subject Mr. Five Deferments knows a lot about personally). Listen to the misuse and abuse of the word "terrorist." Throughout American military history, we've fought many types of enemies in battle: armies, rebels, guerrillas, insurgents. But since 9/11, and as a direct result of Bush's unjust invasion of Iraq, every enemy's a "terrorist" now. And this morphing process serves one purpose: to use 9/11 as a deceptive basis for, and justification of, the Iraq invasion. "Fight 'em over there so we don't have to over here," is the common Bushevik refrain. It's been over three years since the invasion, and we all now know that (a) there was no WMD in Iraq, (b) there was no direct connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda, and (c) Iraq had zero to do with 9/11. Yet it's astounding that the Repugs are back morphing the two, however overtly and/or subtly, in their quest to scare Americans into voting once again for their failed leadership.

As for "staying the course," it's a matter of survival for the Busheviks. As Feingold said on Sunday's Meet the Press, we're being told we need to "stay in Iraq so that Cheney and Bush get to say that they were right. That appears to be why we're there. That appears to be the only logical reason to stay. A situation that is draining our military, that is hurting our recruiting. That is allowing Osama bin Laden to have us exactly where he wants us."

And what about "cut and run" being a sign of the Democrats' weakness; of their "retreat and defeatism?" How about this: is it cut and run when the top American commander in Iraq, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., calls for a troop drawdown of 7000 by September '06? Or a withdrawal of all but 40,000-50,000 troops by the end of '07? The NY Times Sunday reported that a classified Pentagon briefing by Casey calls for significant troop draw-downs within the same timetable outlined by Kerry, Murtha and other Democrats. But it's highly unlikely the Repugs will brand their guy a cut and run defeatist . To the contrary, his prescience will be characterized as military pragmatism. They can't, and won't, have it both ways.


Anonymous said...

If the voters fall for the Repub lies in November 2006, I WILL give up!

From the once great State of Michigan

Anonymous said...

Cathy, the voters really didn’t fall for the BS of the GOP in 2004 as witnessed by the exit polls the problem was the voting machines were once again RIGGED. Reading the blogs, especially Andy’s we get a sense that all is NOT well in the GOP and they are on the ropes again. The problem still is those damn voting machines have not been fixed (really they have been for the good of the GOP) and we need to concentrate on getting them replaced. Kerry last week called for going back to paper voting and I have to agree.

I wish every newspaper would have on their front pages an American flag with the latest body count in Bush’s war. Have you noticed how little is said about the deaths in Iraq? Why has this been kept so hush-hush and no photos have been allowed from the very beginning of the dead coming home, what a disservice to our fighting troops and “they” claim to support the troops, yeah right.

Richard Power said...

I would have assumed your question -- "am I missing something?" -- was rhetorical, except that I do not see any mention of the US mainstream news media's role in this bizarre kabuki. The complicity of the US mainstream news media is what allows Rove's "war strategy" to work time and again, even now, when chaos and anarchy have swallowed up Iraq, even now after a week in which 16 US military personnel were killed. "War is Peace, Hate is Love, 2+2=5." The other magic ingredient, of course, in Rove's "war strategy" for 2006 is the cravenness and cowardice of a majority of Democrats in the US Senate. There was no excuse, no rationale, other than cravenness and complicity to explain backing the non-binding, open-ended Levin resolution over the Feingold-Kerry plan for a re-deployment timetable...No, without the complicity of the US mainstream news media and the cravenness and political cowardice of the Democratic establishment in Beltwayistan, Rove would not seem like much of a "genuis."
Richard Power,

Anonymous said...

Looks like Republicans are not the only senators who don't want an early surrender ...oops...I mean 'deployment' of troops. What will liberals do to these democrats?

sKerry Bill:
NAYs ---86
Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Bennett (R-UT)
Biden (D-DE)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Carper (D-DE)
Clinton (D-NY)
Conrad (D-ND)
Dayton (D-MN)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kohl (D-WI)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Obama (D-IL)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Salazar (D-CO)
Sarbanes (D-MD)
Schumer (D-NY)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Rockefeller (D-WV)

Levin Bill:
NAYs ---60
Dayton (D-MN)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR)
Rockefeller (D-WV)

Unknown said...

For some time now the national Republican leadership and their congressional and media allies have been accusing the Dems of wanting to "cut and run." They preferred a policy of "hunker down and bleed" even if there was no goal or end plan in sight.
Looks like the Pentagon has thrown them a curve.
All this talk of "defeat" and so forth is an attempt to make more palatable a failed policy and a war that should not have been started and was started on false pretense.

Anonymous said...

Larry, did you read the whole bill? Is there some loophole or wording that throws a different light on the total bill?

It certainly looks like the Repugs are trying to steal the idea of withdrawl. Trouble is, people are now informed on Rove tactics and now everything Bush and Company do is looking like Rove guided chicanery. Chicanery = trickery, deception, subterfuge, fake, fraud, cunning, dodge, sophistry, duplicity, dishonesty, connivance, etc. No matter how you try to avoid or hide behind the slogan, Bush is the Greatest - Rove is the slimeball calling the plays.

The more the Democrats can reveal the trickery, the more people are going to join the ranks of those who are mad and not going to take it anymore. It's really past time to get rid of this country's blight. Just how stupid does the Bush Co. think you, and the rest of us are? If they believe GOPers are stupid enough to fall for their hype - then they really do not respect you.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

You'll see how stupid when Larry answers you.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I thought Larry has all the answers. Larry is it true that the Repugs have control of the voting machines? Isn't that illegal? Please, Larry, tell us, oh great KIA!

Anonymous said...

"Either they've (Republicans) totally moved their headquarters to DelusionVille, or they must know something we don't."

Well, one thing is for sure, there will NOT be a candidate from either major political party that will be the "peace" candidate, meaning there will be no choice regarding "war" in coming elections. Which is the same as it always is - no peace, ever. Isn't a beautiful world?

Kris Schultz said...

Have you heard about the Akaka primary Hawaii? It's a reverse Lieberman situation, where anti-war Akaka is being challenged by Bush sympathizing Case. Akaka is one of 13 Senators to vote for a firm timetable of withdrawl of U.S. troops from Iraq, while Case rubberstamped Bush's war in a house vote the week before. I just wrote a big blog posting about it that I thought you might be interested in. Akaka needs as much support as we can give him.

Anonymous said...

you cant get to where you want to go staying the course if you where on the wrong course to begin with.

Anonymous said...

You all are missing the point of the GOP grandstanding on the Iraq withdrawal vote... it's not about 'do we 'stay the course' or 'cut and run''. It's about making the Dems look wishy washy again. It's about making them eat crow. They've been blustering on the TV talk shows about 'time-tables' and 're-alignment' and a 'new direction', etc etc etc. But, the GOP just showed America that they don't have the GUTS to put their money where their mouth is when confronted with a choice. Those votes were all about showing America how SPINELESS the Dems are. They can sit back and criticize but, they can't actually bring themselves to do something that might even APPEAR to be risky to their carrers (even tho a majority support their position which, I guess make them even MORE spineless). Look, I want the Dems to win control in November but, the sad fact is, they just don't know how to lead/take control/WIN!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm almost convinced the announcement of an Iraq withdrawal is to pacify the public for the coming draft. They can then convince the public Iraq is nearing it's end, that a draft is merely precautionary. The Army announced they have raised enlistment age to forty-two. Sounds desperate to me.

Professor Smartass said...

What you are missing:

GOP is counting on votes of semi-literate racists who just watch the news in passing, and whose brains can barely contain the slogans Karl Rove faxes to Fox News and talk radio everyday.

War strong. Not war weak.

cave man logic.

These are the same knuckledraggers who think they will get rich by sending away for a Tony Robbins tape, or that Pat Robertson can cure them through the TV.

If a con man frames his scam rights, and pushes the right buttons of greed, fear, and prejudice, these barely sentient beings would kill their own children.

This election will be a test of how big that number of voters is and whether it's enough to get the GOP within range to steal the election and plausibly say they actually won.

Anonymous said...

Every word Professor Smartass says is true - I know these people he describes and their numbers are huge. I'd like to know how the "dumbing of America" was accomplished. I remember better days.

Anonymous said...

This administration will not restore the draft. It would be politically harmful.

Anonymous said...

Utah is a prime example of the kind of voter Prof. Smartass talks about. They are absolutely incapable of breaking from the GOP party line. They'd probably turn into dust if they had to have an individual or original thought. They are the poster children for what religion can do for your IQ and autonomy.

M. Disgusted

Anonymous said...

How are the democrats any better?

One anonymous claims to "know these people". (s)he knows all 252 million voters? Maybe (s)he knows only the conservative voters. They all fit into the same description as above?

The dumbing of America came hand and hand with the NEA. The NEA is the most corrupt union with the most influence in America. We need to abolish government sponsored indoctrination of our youth. Not to mention teachers are molesting children as if they are in the middle of the Dominican Republic with a bottle of Viagra.

Speaking of breaking from party line, the Democrats can't make a decision without first analyzing how it may affect a woman's right to kill her baby.

Anonymous said...

It makes no difference what the Neocons use as rhetoric (or "issues"; aka abortion, guns, immigration, etc. you know - all that stuff that is truly important to our democracy) they have already proved it isn't how people vote that matters, it is who counts those votes that determines the winner. They have already proved that "if you are not with us, you are against us" and have cowed the Dems in place.(does Paul Wellstone come to mind -- he voted against going to war with Iraq despite being warned by Dick Cheney, remember Tom Daschle who demanded an impartial investigation of 9/11 - until he was anthraxed, remember Max Clelland who was removed from the 9/11 Commission because he voiced how Americans were being scammed - those voting machines got him out of office, same for Cynthia McKinney...and on and on)

When will the "Not Sees" Go Here in American begin to see? Until that happens there will be no changes, hence we have all lost, and the likelihood of no 2008 presidential election is closer to being a reality.