Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Inching Toward the End Zone

Republican Congressman Howard Coble, an ally of Bush, calls for withdrawal from Iraq citing his dispair over the Administration ever demonstrating an effective post-occupation strategy. He voted for the invasion, and still believes it was the right decision. Yet his comments put him in a small but growing minority of Republican lawmakers who think the US should withdraw from Iraq, including those 6 GOP lawmakers who voted against the resolution under which Bush claimed the authority to invade Iraq.

Of such small and incremental progress are new coalitions made. It is a small nudge in the right direction. If Progressives lean hard on the face-saving and pragmatic lever of poor planning and worse post-invasion execution, we can pry more and more key people out of the coalition that is keeping us in Iraq. Surely, for every Coble there are ten or twenty others who quietly harbor the same concerns. Our goal is for them to cease their silent doubting and make evident their concerns.

I know the desire to demonize Bush and all those who voted for military action, repudiating the invasion entirely, is strong; I share it entirely. But refraining from recriminations and instead decrying the cost our troops are paying for the Administration's incompetence and a lack of strategic goals is the best means to growing a consensus for a speedier withdrawal.

Once we are out of Iraq, or the political decision to leave has been made, there will be ample time for the judgment of history on Bush's adventure in Iraq. We face four years in which the chances for a change of leadership is vanishingly small, and no re-election awaits. Our tactics must fit the environment. Bush can only be stopped from accomplishing his goals by Democrats sticking together and getting conscientious members of the GOP to join with us. That doesn't mean collaboration, nor logrolling, nor appeasement; that way lies irrelevance. Democrats must stand on our principles and make those principles attractive to real conservatives.

The cost of this war in dead and greiviously wounded soldiers mounts daily. The many thousands of dead and newly desperate Iraqi civilians promise a generation of strife and reprisals. The barbaric acts ordered and executed in our names affront the dignity and self-image of Americans more every day. With such a legacy of woe, compounded by the damage he's done to our domestic finance and social conhesion, history is not likely to be kind the drunken, born-again, ne'er-do-well scion of the Bush clan. We know he's the worst President ever, we needen't make that our chief argument against his works, or rub our opponents noses in it, however. Our only reward will be spite.

We had best let history make the judgement on Iraq, and on Bush, and just focus on getting our troops out of harms way as soon as we are able.

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