"How did it come to pass that an opposition's measure of a president's foreign policy was all or nothing, success or "failure"? The answer is that the political absolutism now normal in Washington arrived at the moment--Nov. 7, 2000--that our politics subordinated even a war against terror to seizing the office of the presidency." - Daniel Henninger - WSJ 11/18/05
"the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." - George Orwell

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Harry Reid and Dems – Victory through Loss

Today in the Washington Post there is an article regarding the war-funding deal entitled: “Negotiators Agree on War-Funding Package.” Opening with:

“House and Senate negotiators reached agreement yesterday on war-funding legislation that would begin bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq as early as July, setting a goal of ending U.S. combat operations by no later than March.”

I wonder who these “negotiators” are and why this tidbit of information is not elaborated on. The implication in this title and opening is that it has all been agreed upon and it is only now going to await the intransigent president to veto. So, we’ll see who really cares about the troops.

Further down though, if you feel like reading beyond the title and opening paragraph, it appears they are speaking of the Democrat negotiating team.

“Democrats framed the deal reached yesterday as an effort to compromise with Bush.”

Regarding the HUGE effort at compromise involved in the negotiations agreement, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) said:

'"Our commitment is not endless, sets us on a path with the best chance of achieving success in Iraq."'

Setting deadlines and such is a means of “success?” It sure simplifies it for the reader but as with most plans for “success” from the Democrats, detail is wanting, with the exception of course being that it is a means of departing that desert oasis of death. I will grant that the Democrats would, were they able to pull off a game of this sort be “successful,” but that still does not address Iraq, only Democrat aims.

Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid has been in the news of late with his remarks that “the war is lost.” Of his recent statements Michael Barone had this to say yesterday of Reid and the Democrats on the Iraq debate:

“What's curious is that congressional Democrats don't seem much interested in what's actually happening in Iraq. The commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, returns to Washington this week, but last week Pelosi's office said "scheduling conflicts" prevented him from briefing House members. Two days later, the members-only meeting was scheduled, but the episode brings to mind the fact that Pelosi and other top House Democrats skipped a Pentagon videoconference with Petraeus on March 8.”

Which brings Dick Polman’s entry into the Reid recitation yesterday, when he remarked on the “increasingly shrill attempts to rationalize the Iraq war.” I wonder, does Polman find anything “shrill” in the attempts by those at shutting the war down?

Polman sees irony in the “attacks” by President Bush’s defenders (note that defending the warfront in Iraq is defending Bush….not good mum); supposedly all the “defenders somehow believe that it’s still 2002 and that they still hold sway over public opinion, despite all empirical evidence to the contrary.”

The irony is that the attacks against Harry Reid depend upon “the implication that Reid had marginalized himself as a left peacenik at odds with the American mainstream. Describing Reid as “far from being a left-leaning ideologue,” he is in reality very cautious and the feeling you get is that his moves are “heavily poll-tested” prior to his statements. “This war is lost,” can be assumed to be reflecting the mainstream American opinion. Polman wrote that three days before Reid’s statements:

“the latest ABC-Washington Post poll was released. It asked Americans whether we would win or lose the war. Fifty-one percent said we’d lose, 35 percent said we’d win. Last month, meanwhile, the USA Today poll offered four choices, ranging from most optimistic to most pessimistic. The largest share of respondents opted for the latter. Forty-six percent said they didn’t think we can win; another 20 percent said victory was possible, but didn’t think it would happen; 17 percent said we’d probably win; and 10 percent said we’d definitely win.”

Polls; the method of leadership as practiced by that politician that held the Oval Office for the majority of the last decade of the 20th century. If we are to rely upon polls we should make sure they allow for answers to be revealed that we may not have been expecting before doing the poll, no? Too often, if not always, opinion polls reflect the responses based upon response available. I'm thinking the Iraq front is a bit more complicated than that, although I may be mistaken considering those poll results.

Other shreds of evidence as compiled by the article:

No recollection of “any of Reid’s critics focusing their ire on Conservative William F. Buckley, who has long believed the war has “failed.”

To which I can say I have disagreed with from the moment he wrote of his opinion on this subject, but this kind of speaks to that fact that we are not all in lockstep on this.

No attack on retired Army three star General William Odom; director of the NSC under Reagan – writing in Feb that “it’s futile to keep American troops in Iraq (“fighting on now simply prolongs our losses and blocks the way to a new strategy”).”

Odom had previously said on NBC in ’04, ‘“We have already failed. Staying in longer makes us fail worse. If we blindly say we should stick to it, we’re misusing our power and we’re making it worse…I think we’ve passed the chances to not fail.”’ Polman adds that at that time we had lost only 720 soldiers.

I wonder what makes Odom correct other than the fact that Polman likely agrees; that and of course, regardless of party affiliation, Odom worked for a Republican administration. Earlier above Polman saw defenders of Iraq as believing they still held sway as they did in ’02, so this entry included of Odom is his means of holding sway by quoting someone that was in government in the 80’s as holding some kind of sway like a comparison of apples to oranges I guess.

Finally, Polman did not see any backpeddling by Reid following the fall out from his remarks as in Polman’s words, “why invite fresh attacks, regardless of how fatuous they might be?”


‘"Winning this war is no longer the job of the American military. Our troops have already done their job...The military mission has long since been accomplished. The failure has been political. It has been policy. It has been presidential."’

I support the troops, I care, and it’s all the presidents’ fault. This also speaks to the reality often uttered by Democrats that Iraq needs a political solution, not a military one. This is a really neat way of stating the debate since no one really disagrees.

I guess then the question that needs to be asked is; is the military presence and fighting not necessary in holding back or fighting off those that wish this to fail because it is up to the Iraqi politicians? How long would they last in discussion of their political solution without the military portion of the solution in its place?

Harry Reid holds up the sign of victory, thusly:

When it should be held up in this way

The V for victory to Democrats is through losing the war, so that they can win the one at home.

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