Democrats & Liberals Archives

What's the Big Secret?

I must have misplaced my hundred thousand person plus army. Care to tell me where I can find it?

All joking aside, there’s a point where secrecy, or its attempt are simply exercises in absurdity.

The redeployment of a force of a size like that in Iraq is not going to be a secret, and it's going to take preparation. We will have to tell people and make arrangements. This, of course is the basis of the notion that we can't make a timetable. How? Simply put, Iraq is too dangerous to allow us to do that without risking that we will suffer worse attacks.

That is indeed the risk. But why? Why after four years of this, of an insurgency that shouldn't have lasted a month much less the vast majority of the war, is control in Iraq still that far beyond our grasp?

If Iraq being stable has been the definition of this job being finished, then America's performance in this war has been truly appalling, because by that definition, the job has been less and less finished the longer we have stayed in Iraq, and only now, after Bush's devastating political defeat in 2006, has he decided to bring more forces to bear. We didn't hear one peep about raising force levels before then. We were told we had all that we needed. We were told the commanders said they didn't need anymore soldiers.

Then, all of a sudden, when Bush's political fortunes suffer a downturn, whammo! The president says they need more soldiers! The timing isn't even suspicious. It's incriminating. What's more, it invalidates any talk of the dangers of setting publically known goals, of setting timetables.

The President said that we would be expecting progress in six months. By the republican logic, wouldn't that simply encourage the enemy to hunker down and wait? The President announced what we would be trying to do, warning them we'd be concentrating forces in Baghdad.

Oh, and he also admitted that things were dissatisfactory. That would mean he was admitting things weren't going as planned. My word, defeatism! You can't point out problems or admit goals aren't being met! That might embolden the enemy.

Yeah, unlike about four years of failing to prevent them from getting what they want: a civil war. The Republicans who support Bush still focus on the media and the publicity that the insurgents and terrorists have gotten, forgetting that many of their targets were infrastructural, like oil pipelines and building projects. Many of their targets had more to do with provoking the other side in a sectarian conflict. These people weren't doing everything simply for our benefit. They were deliberately attacking those projects that would make the government in Iraq work as a government for all of Iraq's people.

And they have succeeded. Just about everybody can see that. Everybody knows the things we didn't want to happen, and the things that did. About the only thing Bush's supporters can say now is that it's not over, that things can change. That's what worries the rest of us. Things will change, and it's no secret what kind of change has come to Iraq every time Bush has promised things will get better.

Am I buying the enemy line? Am I doing what they want us to do?

Potent question. Let's consider something: after four years of Bush's Iraq policy, who has benefited the most? al-Qaeda and other terrorists groups are reaping the rewards in recruitment. The Radical Sunnis and Shia are running roughshod over their more moderate colleagues, and Iran has more influence than they've had in the region for a long time, and we're picking up the bill for giving these people all this help, while weakening our ability to stand against them.

Gee, I think we're already doing their bidding.

Maybe departing will convince them that we can be beat, but looking back at the last four years, I don't see how that will be a real change of message. Bush started screwing up even before he got our troops on the battlefield, and has had us in a self-defeating, inferiority complex ridden strategy he stubbornly refused to change ever since.

Maybe some will cheer at our departure, jump for joy, see our defeat as a banner day for humanity. There will be a number of people in the Middle East, though, who will wake up wondering what new troubles the Iraq situation will bring them. Refugees, radicalism, anarchy, economic depression- our enemies and rivals in the region will find that the mess they supported getting us into will become their number one headache. A failed state in one's backyard is no rational leader's idea of a healthy situation.

Personally, I like the idea of walking up to these people with a savage smile, and telling them "Okay, you win, now you get to enjoy all the horror and suffering you paid for and inflicted on us. If you ease our way out by helping these poor folks out now, maybe you'll save yourself a whole bunch of trouble. If not? Well, suit yourself. See your economies weighed down by refugees, your borders threatened by warlords, your politics confounded by radical influences from the areas of greatest strife."

That's what it comes down to. They've had their fun, beating us up. They've enjoyed turning our clueless leader's stubborn failure to change course into a boon for their causes. But this time, things won't stay safely tucked away in Central Asia. If this war ends, they have to clean up after their own party. Why not give them that chance? Why not put them on notice that the party's at an end? If they know we're serious, if they see that we're committed to leaving, they will have very little incentive to keep adding fuel to the fire that's raining embers down on their own roofs.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at March 24, 2007 9:45 PM
Comments
Comment #213666

Terrific article, Stephen. Five stars.
I’m not sure why there have been no comments as yet, but I can say that after I reading this, and seeing how many spot-on points you’ve made here, you left basically nothing more to say!

PS. You should try sending this article to Huffington Post or one of the other blogs that have a giant following of daily readers. It’s simply too good to only share with us here.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 25, 2007 3:02 PM
Comment #213679

Adrienne, I have to agree with your post. I have tried 3 times to comment but each time I was simply rephrasing what was already written. Stephen has said it all. Which is probably why there are so few comments.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 25, 2007 4:16 PM
Comment #213681

Stephen,

I totally agree with you!

Something I was deeply touched by this morning was Chuck Hagel’s words to George Stephanopoulos on ABC’ “This Week” something to the effect that George Bush seems to disregard the House and Senate, AND the obvious voice of the American public. THIS IS NOT A MONARCHY!

Again, I totally agree with every word you’re saying. The only way to rectify this is by impeaching President Bush for incompetence. It’s never been done before, but now it’s time to establish a new precedence in the law. On the field of battle a commander can be removed by his subordinates if that commander fails to perform responsibly. That time has come.

Hagel, today, stressed that the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches are EQUAL under the constitution. Bush doesn’t get that. He never has. IMPEACH NOW! That is the only way to restore our freedoms, the strength of our military, and our global prestige.

Anything less than impeachment will continue to lead us down the path to ruin.

Posted by: KansasDem at March 25, 2007 4:32 PM
Comment #213683

Kansas Dem, I just put up a partial transcript of that interview with Hagel in the Sic Eagles thread. I agreed with so many of the things he was saying there also! As for the impeachment issue, you should go read the post I put up today in the “Executive Privilege” thread below. It might be very wise to start impeaching members of Bush’s administration, beginning with Alberto Gonzales.
Start with the crooks below them, then work upwards! :^)

Posted by: Adrienne at March 25, 2007 4:44 PM
Comment #213686

“Start with the crooks below them, then work upwards!”

Adrienne,

I don’t think we have the time to dilly-dally with “Gon-zo-boy”, “Chain-ee”, and “feed-em-Rice”. IMO we’re teetering on the edge. It’s time for a full fledged revolt! Certainly a legal and peaceful revolt, but a revolt all the same. Recent statements made by our CinC show that he believes he is above all law and therefore subject to no criticism or restraint. It’s time to show that BOY that he is and always has been nothing but a BOY!

Pelosi was dead wrong to take impeachment “off the table”! We the people need to put it back on the table and let her know she can be impeached also!

We’re talking about the survival of our nation. No more pussy-footing around. It’s time to get serious.

Posted by: KansasDem at March 25, 2007 4:58 PM
Comment #213698

Kansas Dem,
I understand your anger and frustration, believe me. I holler impeachment to anyone who will listen to me….but……someone who is a whole lot smarter than me is going to have to explain how we can pull a vote off for that, when we can barely get anything else through. We’ve got a group on our own side who are obviously afraid of ruffling the wrong feathers, and you know, we won’t get more than a single digit count (if that) from across the aisle.
Can’t we just send him “over there” to hand out cigarettes and gum on street corners and let nature run its’ course?? Just as long as he sneers, he’ll be recognized.
Seriously, the s**t is piled high and getting higher by the day….but how can we make it happen??????

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at March 25, 2007 5:53 PM
Comment #213723

I think an impeachment trial is going to take too long to be worth anything more than a symbolic victory. What we need is to shove such oversight down the Bush administration’s throat that they wish they were being impeached.

The key here, though, is too keep up the meaningful outrage. It’s not as simple as “scandal of the week”. People have to see that there are alternatives to what they’re doing, and that there are clear moral reasons not to engage in this behavior.

The next step after that is to our absolute best to maintain oversight, whoever is elected, and if we are lucky enough to get the White House, to do a much better job of governing than the political hack who’s occupied the office these last six years.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 25, 2007 8:58 PM
Comment #213741

Oversight, schmoversight!

It all amounts to watching and bitching while OUR country goes to hell in a hand basket.

Anything short of impeachment makes us all “part and parcel” to Bush’s illegal acts.

Posted by: KansasDem at March 26, 2007 12:26 AM
Comment #213742

KansasDem-
There’s a practical reason to go for oversight before impeachment.

Namely, it’s the facts.

First, if we’re standing guard, gathering information about how Bush’s government is working, we stand a better chance of catching him in the kind of act that merits impeachment. If we just try to do this on political grounds, it will be treated as a partisan power grab.

Second, short of impeachment, we can exercise our other powers more effectively if we’re giving the Bush administration a thorough exam. One part of what allowed the Bush Administration’s excesses to become so profound was their willing partners in congress. We can curtail their bad behavior, and expose it.

Third, if we’re talking machiavellian motives, we should allow Bush to reload and shoot himself and the party in the foot as many times as he and they are pleased to go on with their masochistic self destruction. Then we put out a good Democratic party candidate, and people will thank us for taking over.

Of course, with oversight, we should act to prevent as much of the harm as possible, but meanwhile, we get credit for stopping Bush’s screwups, and he gets credit for continuing to be one. Impeach him, and he gets to play martyr. Keep bringing his people up before committees, and he has to play obnoxious spoiled brat prince.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 26, 2007 12:41 AM
Comment #213761

Stephen: Great post. I would like to add my thoughts regarding impeachment. Impeachment works when used (1) sparingly (as it effectively overturns an election) and (2) when there is a single culprit, the person being impeached. The impeachment of Richard Nixon is arguably the only time when the impeachment of a president was appropriate. Impeachment is not appropriate for spiting the political opposition no matter how wrong they are — and the GOP is very, very wrong.

While Dubya gets and deserves every bit of the criticism he is getting, he is not operating by himself as he has acted and is acting in tandem with his party, the GOP.

In maturity, we learn there are consequences to the choices that we make. It is, therefore, important for voters to learn the hard lessons of voting for Republicans. Unfortunately, Americans have short memories; had Americans remembered the lessons of Watergate (and the parallels between RMN and GWB are uncanny), there would have never been another Republican president nor a Republican majority in either the House or Senate.

The evils that we have been witnessing and continue to witness are characteristic of so-called conservatives: the yearning for an authoritarian leader; a “law doesn’t apply to me” thinking; a denigration of substance by style; an elitist, nationalistic mine-is-bigger-than-yours worldview; an abuse of “religion;” a loyalty to party and person vs loyalty to country; an inability to think in other than dichotomous constructs; a lack of civic, community mindedness; a comfort with discrimination and inequality; and an aversion to empirical fact.

Hence, I suggest it is much better to allow Americans to sleep in the bed which they have made for themeselves. Many will never again vote for a Republican after having lived through the present hell. The elections of 2006 demonstrate Americans’ ability to learn.

I admit, I would find satisfaction in the impeachment of Dubya. However, my love for this country demands I have a greater, more long-term vision for the well-being of my country. I should, also, note that Dubya and his minions can be brought to justice after he has left office in the criminal courts. This can only reinforce American’s learnings well into the next decade. You can be assured the next president will not be handing out any pardons.

Posted by: Allen at March 26, 2007 9:46 AM
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