Democrats & Liberals Archives

Stay the Course

President George W. Bush has been criticized for “staying the course” in Iraq. It is obvious to everybody, Republicans and Democrats alike, that the current approach is not working. What they fail to understand is that “staying the course” is not meant as a way of achieving victory in Iraq. No, not at all. It is a way of winning victory against Democrats in political campaigns. It has worked before, but is failing miserably today.

After 9/11, all Americans were shocked, and all Americans were eager to attack Afghanistan where Osama bin Laden was hiding. But bin Laden escaped at Tora Bora. At that point, instead of "staying the course" and pursuing bin Laden, the administration decided to "cut and run" to Iraq. We were assured over and over again that this was necessary in order to keep America secure.

In 2002, Republicans labeled their "cut and run" as "stay the course," and they won majorities in both houses. In 2004, Republicans again told us that the only way to keep America secure is to "stay the course" in Iraq, and again they won. Even Bush was reelected.

Evidently "stay the course" was a winning strategy - not for achieving victory in Iraq, but for achieving victory at the American polls. Iraq descended into chaos. However, the administration held up the beautiful goal of democracy and painted all Iraq happenings in rosy red. "Stay the course" was a slogan that pointed out how confident Republicans were of victory in Iraq, and how positive they were that this victory would enhance American security.

A couple of months ago, Karl Rove told us that again achieving security by "staying the course" will be foremost in the upcoming elections. Indeed, it is.

However, this time achieving security is a message that is hurting Republicans and benefiting Democrats. Democrats are telling voters what they already see and are unhappy about: "stay the course" has been a recipe for disaster in Iraq. To make our country secure, we MUST find a way to extricate ourselves from Iraq.

Republican leaders are running around shooting in all directions and sometimes they hit other Republicans. Listen to the latest from Bill Frist, the majority leader of the Senate:

The challenge is to get Americans to focus on pocketbook issues, and not on the Iraq and terror issue.

So even Frist does not like "stay the course." Democrats have been against "stay the course" for a very long time. Frist prefers to talk about pocketbook issues. So do Democrats, because the Republicans have arranged it so that wages and salaries don't budge, while CEOs get million-dollar packages.

But the primary message of Democrats is about security. We insist that we get out of Iraq and return to finish the job in Afghanistan. Getting rid of Al Qaeda is the first order of business in keeping us safe.

Finally, after all these years of "stay the course" propaganda, it no longer works. Americans see the reality and are clamoring for change. They will get it by voting Democrats into office.

Posted by Paul Siegel at October 25, 2006 5:43 PM
Comments
Comment #190273

With the deficit, the Iraq war IS a pocketbook issue.

Posted by: womanmarine at October 25, 2006 6:36 PM
Comment #190276

If the Dems win, the perception of the economy will improve. The low unemployment and robust growth we have enjoyed since 2003 will look really good to the liberal media if Dems can get credit.

Posted by: Jack at October 25, 2006 6:46 PM
Comment #190284

Jack, while sadly that is probably true, if the budget deficit continues to grow if/when Democrats take the House/Presidency, I am quite certain more than a few Democrats will complain.

But I thought we had come to the agreement that Democrats and Republicans both try to claim more credit than is rightfully theirs when they are in power.

Posted by: Zeek at October 25, 2006 7:15 PM
Comment #190285

Jack-

Please stop this ridiculous idiocy about biased media if you want to be taken seriously. It is getting really old, really fast, and it puts you on the same level as a Rush or O’Reilly. You may think that is ok, but the majority of people find it a reason to roll their eyes and vote democrat. Is this your aim? Or is your aim to convince radicals to continue to think radical thoughts? Either way, its not what I expect from you.

Posted by: Kevin23 at October 25, 2006 7:16 PM
Comment #190301

A Conservative Plan for Iraq

Anyone who questions the lack of a realistic and comprehensive Iraq strategy is labeled a friend of fascism by the Republican leadership. House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) recently said, “I wonder if [Democrats] are more interested in protecting the terrorists than protecting the American people.” Republicans are paralyzed with the fear of being thought ineffective on national security and the war.

Meanwhile, the Democratic leadership cannot seem to accept that—regardless of how we got there—we are in Iraq. They have not made a convincing case that an arbitrary phased or date-certain troop withdrawal is in the best long-term interest of the United States. Rather, they seem to think that withdrawal will undo the decision to have gone to war. Rubbing President Bush’s nose in Iraq’s difficulties is also a priority.

This political food fight is stifling the desperately needed public discussion about a meaningful resolution to the fire fight. Most Americans know Iraq is going badly. And they know the best path lies somewhere between “stay the course” and “get out now”.

Some Truths

1) Iraq is having a civil war between the Sunnis and Shiites. The Kurds will certainly join, if attacked. It may not look like a civil war, because they don’t have tanks, helicopters, and infantry; but they are fighting with what they have.

2) Vast oil revenues are a significant factor behind the fighting. Yes, there are religious and cultural differences—but concerns about how the oil revenue will be split among the three groups make the problem worse.

3) Most Iraqis support partitioning Iraq into Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish regions. (Their current arrangement resulted from a pen stroke during the British occupation, not some organic alignment.)

4) Most citizens of the Middle East who support groups that kill and terrorize civilians—such as Hezbollah, Hamas, or al Qaeda—in part because of their aggressive stance against Israel and the United States, but also because they provide much needed social services, such as building schools.

5) Both Republican and Democratic administrations have spent decades doing business with the tyrants who run the Middle East in exchange for oil and cheap labor. This has been the one of the rallying calls of Bin Laden and Hezbollah—that we support tyrants who abuse people for profits. In fact, our latest trade deals with Oman and Jordan actually promote child and slave labor; it’s so bad the State Department had to issue warnings about rampant child trafficking in those countries.

6) Iran is using the instability in Iraq to enhance its political stature in the region. Leaving Iraq without a government that can stand up to Iran would be very destabilizing to the region and the world.

From the U.S. perspective, this is all mostly about energy. As things stand, a serious oil supply disruption would devastate our economy, threaten our security, and jeopardize our ability to provide for our children.

New Directions

Success in Iraq and the Middle East in general requires us to work in three areas simultaneously: (1) fostering a more stable Middle East region, including Iraq, (2) pursuing alternative sources of oil, and (3) developing alternatives to oil. To these ends we must:

1) Insure that the oil revenues are fairly and transparently split among all three groups: Shiite, Sunni, and Kurds based on population.

2) Allow each group to have a much stronger role in self government by creating three virtually-autonomous regions. Forcing a united Iraq down their throats is not working. Our military would then be there in support a solution that people want, rather than one they are resisting.

3) Become a genuine force for positive change, thus denying extremist groups much of their leverage. Driving a fair two-state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian problem should be our first priority. We should also engage in projects that both help the average Middle Easterner and Americans, such as supporting schools that are an alternative to the ones that teach hate and recruit terrorists. We should also stop participating in trade deals that promote child and slave labor by insisting on deals that include livable wages and basic labor rights.

4) Declare a Marshal Plan to end our Middle Eastern energy dependency with a compromise between exploring for new sources, reducing consumption, and developing of alternative energies. For example, we should re-establish normal relations with Cuba so we can beat China to Cuba’s off-shore oil. We should also redirect existing tax breaks for Big Oil into loan guarantees for alternative energy companies.

Once we no longer need so much oil from the Middle East, we can begin winning over its people by using our oil purchases to reward positive and peaceful behavior from their leaders. This would ultimately reduce tensions and encourage prosperity in the region.

We will have to live with the threat of Islamic radical terrorism forever; but these solutions are a start to reducing the threat. Both parties have to put politics aside and put together an honest and reasonable plan that the American understand.

Posted by: John Konop at October 25, 2006 8:21 PM
Comment #190309

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from one generation to the next, says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
The Bush Administration, because of its heavy investment of prestige (not to mention money and lives) in our occupation of Iraq, has decided to try several other strategies:
1. Putting one man at each leg to prop up the horse.
2. Appointing a committee to find reasons for the horse’s lack of vitality.
3. Setting goals that the horse must meet by a stated deadline, or you will set another deadline.
4. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be counted as alive.
5. Re-classifying the horse as living-impaired.
6. Providing additional funding to increase the horse’s performance.
7. Issuing gas masks to everyone so they can’t smell the odor of decay.
8. Promoting the dealer who sold you the horse to be Secretary of State.

Sorry, Mr. President, the horse is still dead.

Posted by: Dragon at October 25, 2006 8:31 PM
Comment #190312

Stay the course, I thought it was a crock when I first heard it. What commander of any force “stays the course” when they can obviously see that “the path they are on” the conflict is going the wrong direction.
Do you continue a frountal assault on a castle when all you have are wooden arrows and bronze weapons? Or do you try a different approach? This is why I don’t think Politicians should run military campaigns. Give the Generals the guide lines and let them do their job.

Posted by: timesend at October 25, 2006 8:37 PM
Comment #190322

And now the Chimp in Charge says it was never about “stay the course”. I mean besides the 30 times he’s been taped saying it. What, are they “cutting and running” from “stay the course”? Unbelieveable.

Posted by: Ray at October 25, 2006 8:59 PM
Comment #190347

Hey!!

Anyone who was in on the discussion of live birth abortions and Senator Obama’s approval of them, scroll down to it again. Jill Stanek, the nurse who witnessed these crimes against humanity and testified before congress, has joined the discussion herself. Now you libs can call her a liar to her face instead of smearing her anonymously.

Posted by: Duane-o at October 25, 2006 10:50 PM
Comment #190361
The challenge is to get Americans to focus on pocketbook issues, and not on the Iraq and terror issue.

Oh good! Democrats have a lock on pocketbook issues: affordable healthcare, affordable education, Social Security, Medicare, minimum wage, middle-class tax cuts, etc., etc.

Bring it on, Mr. Frist.

Posted by: American Pundit at October 25, 2006 11:34 PM
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