Monday, April 30, 2007

One last chance Mr. Bush.

Everyone and their brother expects President Bush to veto the Iraq funding bill that has an advisory (advisory = non binding) time table in it for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

I contend that the President is passing by a golden opportunity. Yet Bush's pride and willful stubbornness necessitates that he veto the bill, and is going to be the ruination of the Republican party. The case can be made that if troops are trying to pacify Baghdad through the 2008 election that we will see the installation of a long term Democratic majority in Congress, with only rampant cronyism, corruption and stupidity on a Delay/Frist type scale by Democrats at some point in the distant future bringing Republicans back.

The President is being given the chance to end this, and to hang some of the consequences of what will certainly be a very ugly post occupation aftermath on the Democrats. To paraphrase his argument he could say, "I had to sign this bill to fund the troops so the Democrats own the result". Can you imagine being Republican candidate for President or Congress in 2008 as things stand now? You would have to be deep in prayer on a daily basis that Bush comes to his senses and takes Iraq off the table going into the election. Those candidates must lay awake at night trying to think of ways to get Bush to sign this bill!

Bush recently had another chance for a scintilla of redemption, if he had embraced the Baker/Hamilton commission findings. However, that plan was dead on arrival due to the same reasons that the spending bill is. Baker/Hamilton expressly stated that there could be no "victory" in Iraq and the solution was not to keep up an occupation and trade blows with the insurgency for the foreseeable future either. When Harry Reid is attacked for saying this war is already lost, I wonder if the people attacking him were so vociferous when Baker/Hamilton said essentially the same thing?

Quite frankly, George Bush no longer cares a wit about anything but his own self centered, ego maniacal image. I dare any koolaid drinker to try to prove that Bush thinks America will "win" this war. How? When? What is "win" anyway? Does Bush honestly think a future Congress and President will not pull the plug in the first 100 days of office, and be loved by the nation for doing so? It is clear that Bush is running out the clock to pass the buck to the next President in a sick and twisted effort to place the blame on them. George Bush does not care about the national good. He is willing to sacrifice hundreds of Americans and thousands of Iraqis in a failed effort to escape the inevitable final judgement of history; that his Presidency was a disaster... the worst ever. If anything, this deadly mule headedness will sink the estimation of historians for Bush to even lower depths, and the future President who extricates us will not be castigated for doing so.

The best course of action for this President would be to take the life line Congress has tossed to his floundering administration. George Bush claims to receive guidance from his heavenly father. Let us hope that Bush is given divine inspiration to end this by signing the bill. (It is hard for me to imagine a holy calling to continue this wanton debacle... in fact I think Georges Godar was severely off target when he initiated the invasion in the first place) That would truly be a miracle.

On the other hand, there is a political conundrum facing the Democratic Congress. When the bill comes back, the RIGHT thing to do is whatever they can to end the war. They can not over ride the veto, but they can pass another bill with time lines and send it back again. These bills do provide funding for the troops and it would be the Presidents obstinacy which would result in shortages if he refused to sign and funds ran out. Also time is all on the Democrats side on this. The more time goes by with Iraq continuing to literally explode the less Republicans in Congress are liable to support continuing the folly. So the right thing to do is what ever it takes to end the war. Again, if they succeeded in this they would be open to political heat because the after math of withdrawal WHEN it happens is going to be horrendous.

BUT the politically opportune thing to do is for Democrats to throw up their hands at the Presidents obstinacy and give him what he wants. Let the war continue and use it as a cudgel through the 2008 elections. Democrats voted as soon as they could for timetables, but Republicans supported the Presidents veto! If voters do not support indefinite war in Iraq (hello 70% of the American people) then you should vote for a Democratic Senate that can over ride a Presidential veto, and/or a Republican filibuster.

How sad is it to consider this war as a political cudgel or tool for use by one or the other side. Let this be a lesson for future Presidents. The nation only goes to war when it absolutely MUST do so. There should be political unanimity for future conflicts. The consequences for attempting to deceptively lead the nation to war should be severe. Let future Presidents bring a united America to bear on our enemies, not use our enemies to divide us one from the other.

Finally, I suppose there is another way to look at this. President Bush has proven so deadly inept and wrong headed that allowing him to oversee a withdrawal may end in yet another disaster. I can see him trying to make his corporate buddies a buck on the endeavor, outsourcing the nuts and bolts planning, and having it melt down halfway through the withdrawal. Withdrawing in the face of the enemy is a tricky proposition and it will have to be done with care and foresight. I'm not sure Bush is up to the task. His heart isn't in it in the first place, and history serves to show a decided lack of success in grand scale endeavors Bush launches.

But we are where we are. We do need to get out and that should be as soon as is safely do-able. If this is undertaken with Bush at the helm, at least we have a Democratic Congress to oversee the process!

The outcome of the 2008 US presidential race pretty much depends on the war in Iraq. As of the moment the general impression is that things are not improving so the Democratic party is enjoying an advantage.
The President is being given the chance to end this, and to hang some of the consequences of what will certainly be a very ugly post occupation aftermath on the Democrats.

This is an interesting perspective.

Conversely, those who bemoan the fact that there is no veto-proof majority on this issue have forgotten that the Democrats hold the purse strings right now. If they choose, they could end this war in 2 months: Simply refuse to pass a Defense Appropriation bill this year. Not going to happen, but delicious to contemplate.
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