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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Bush Administration Claims Credit for Troop Reduction Plans

And so it begins: the rush of fervent hawks -- the same ones who promised to "stay the course," constantly moved the goalposts for declaring success, accused Jack Murtha of getting his ideas from Michael Moore, and attacked antiwar critics as unpatriotic -- to disingenuously claim that they always were reluctant about the war and that substantial troop reductions in 2006 were their idea all along.

This sort of revisionism is not new. Once WWII was over, no German ever admitted supporting Adolf Hitler or the war, even though he won a popular election to take power initially and support for the war was high at the beginning (thanks largely to the propoganda genius of Hermann Goering).

The neocon talking point for today, and probably for the next eleven months, is: "Jack Murtha didn't say anything we haven't already been saying." The talking point is: "the President always said we'd leave Iraq soon." The talking point is: "Don't let the Democrats take back the House in 2006 now that the American public has awakened to the reality that they were manipulated into supporting this war, and it's not going well, and it's precisely the neocons in the Administration and Congress who engineered this disaster."

Oops. That's not a talking point. They won't say it, and none of the Woodward-style "access reporters" in the mainstream media will ask the question that elicits it -- or, if they do, they won't ask the follow-up insisting that it be answered rather than evaded.

But let's be clear about two things:

1) None of the Republicans in the Administration or in the Congressional leadership showed any inclination to enunciate a clear plan, let alone take solid steps, to withdraw troops from Iraq before a handful of progressives, most notably Jack Murtha, finally caught the public's attention with a stand really supporting the troops. To pretend otherwise is sheer mendacity, calculated to minimize losses in the 2006 midterms.

2) This Administration, in particular, had no and still has no intention of withdrawing substantial numbers of troops from Iraq. They are still building 14 permanent bases on Iraq's sandy soil, and a permanent presence in Iraq -- to replace the airmen and other soldiers we pulled out of Saudi Arabia in capitulation to Osama bin Laden's demands and to secure a backup oil source in the event the Saudi royal family is overthrown -- is a key part of the neocon foreign policy and energy strategy. They will, of necessity, rotate exhausted, three-tour units home, but they will not willingly do more. If they do do more, it will be a capitulation to Congressional Republicans worried about their seats, and is not likely to last past next November.

Once again, this is not a partisan issue. There are Republicans on the same side as Murtha, and an embarassing number of Vichy Democrats, too cowardly to take a stand that might get them labeled cowards, who have waffled on the war. Overall, Congressional Republicans cannot be faulted much for supporting their President's policy, while Congressional Democrats should be blamed for failing, individually and as a party, to take a clear antiwar stance and articulate a lucid alternative to the Administration's Iraq war policy.

The Democrats' "neocon light" waffling may cost them dearly, because voter dissatisfaction with Republicans won't translate into Democratic gains next November if voters don't perceive a difference between the two. The Democrats have missed a rare opportunity to benefit from simply doing the right thing, and the tiny shred of truth contained in the Administration's new misdirection tactic -- that they and the Vichy Democrats have the same plan -- may blunt Republican losses next year.

But that is to the Democrats' shame, not to the Administration's credit. This Administration, which is not focused on the risk terrorists present to us at home and which "supports the troops" in rhetoric only, deserves no credit whatsoever for any troop reductions that political or practical necessity forces them to accept, and we should not be fooled when some troops are withdrawn just for show in the runup to the Congressional midterms.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In case the link disappears, here's the text of the compelling "not going well" link to

"A Letter from Ramadi--"I Wish Every American Could See This for Him/Herself"
Posted by Paul Rieckhoff
03:30 PM Nov 22, 2005

A healthy debate about how and when America should get out of Iraq is now underway in America. Better late than never. The catalyst for this new dialogue is the courageous Congressman John Murtha.

It is perfectly reasonable (and extremely vital) that America discuss and debate the merits of Murtha's proposed plan for withdrawl.

However, some critics have attacked Murtha on the validity of his statements about what is really happening inside Iraq. Statements like, "We cannot win this militarily. Our tactics themselves keep us from winning."

Do you think Murtha is wrong about how things are going in Iraq? Do you feel he is exaggerating what our military is really up against in Iraq? Well, let me give you something to think about.

Recently, I got an email from a very close buddy of mine currently serving as an officer in Ramadi, Iraq. He speaks with a candor and level of frustration that you won't hear from the Generals regurgitating White House talking points on TV. Check this out:


I wish I had the time or energy or memory capacity to describe to you how wrong this whole thing has gone. It's just as you described it a couple years ago. We *can* make a difference here, and i believe in the mission as it looks on paper. But your president and his brain-dead colleagues aren't even trying to give us what we need to do it. the add-on armor HMMWVs are a joke. The terrorists target them b/c they know they offer no protection. The M1114s have good armor, but every time we lose one (i had one blown up monday, driver had his femoral artery cut -- will recover fully -- b/c there apparently is no armor or very weak armor under the pedals) it's impossible to replace them. So now I have to send yet another add-on armored vehicle outside the wire daily. The M1114s also have certain mechanical defects, known to the manufacturer, for which there is apparently no known fix. For example, on some of them (like mine) if it stalls or you turn it off, you cannot restart it if the engine is hot. We have to dump 3 liters of cold water on a solenoid in order to start it again. Not that much fun when your vehicle won't start in indian country. I wonder if DoD is getting a refund for the contract. Speaking of contracts, KBR is a joke. I can't even enumerate the problems with their service, but I guarantee they do not receive less money based on how many of the showers don't work, or how many of us won't eat in the chow hall often because we get sick every time we do.

There is so much. I could go on forever. the worst thing, which we have discussed, is that they are playing these bullshit numbers games to fool America about troop strength. If they stopped paying KBR employees $100,000 to do the job of a $28,000 soldier, maybe they'd have enough money to send us enough soldiers to do the job. As it stands we have no offensive capability in the most dangerous city on earth. General Shinseki should write an Op/Ed that basically says, "I told you so." Idiots.

Where are the AC-130s? The apaches? They have them in FAR less active AOs (areas of operations). All we ever get is a single Huey and Cobra team, both of which are older than I am. it's such a joke. They're not even trying. At all. They have apaches in Tikrit but Hueys in Ramadi.

I wish every american could see this for him/herself. Registering your frustration at the ballot box isn't nearly enough. There should be jail terms for this."

11/27/2005 9:44 AM  
Blogger OsakaJack said...

Many conservatives are hoping for a Republican who can actually do the job in the next election. And there won't be a Democrat in the WH next term, they can't even wipe their asses without agreeing that shit smells bad.

I'll say it again. A global effort in the Middle East is what it will take. And more diplomacy and money. Less troops or more troops but none of this nonsense.

11/27/2005 3:45 PM  

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