"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

Friday, September 14, 2007

Democrats: An End to the War; Short, Bittersweet and the Crux

President Bush spoke for the eighth time on the subject of Iraq this evening; the consensus to most talking heads was it is not much in the neighborhood of new material. A reason for this lack in new material can be attributed to the opposition’s repetition of the past four years; the president is still speaking to the same arguments. This is not to say it is the fault of the Democrats that the president is repetitive, but more in line with yelling in a canyon and hearing an echo in response. Would it be nice if he were to take a new tack? Yes, it would, but it would also be nice if the Democrats tried a new refrain as well.

Senator from Rhode Island, Jack Reed responded to the president with the same tried and still not true material. A piece of which is “ending this war.” This has basically been the crux to the debate; Democrats and their supporters see this as a “war” and the president and his supporters in this vein see this more as a battle in a “war.” These are two very diametrically opposed views and part of that, which has made the debate all the more difficult to move forward in a way that might reach consensus.

Jack Reed referred to the issue in Iraq as a civil war, which is nothing new; so far so good. Setting aside the implausibility inherent in succeeding at what is being attempted with the numbers employed now, but with fewer troops and/or with new geographical post, we can end “this war.” Senator Reed is not wrong if this is a singular and unique war with no relatives in sight. Where Senator Reed and the Democrats fail is if this is as the president has continuously stated; a front in a greater war, this to the Democrats is the great gamble and one with which they have bet our future on.

In a perfect world with pieces that fit like a jigsaw puzzle, the Democrats might have a chance at completing the image of the cute puppy on the box cover. In another perfect world, as horrifying and pitiful as it would be, were the president wrong, amends could be made; not perfectly mind you with all forgiven, but made nonetheless; take it or leave it. Pride or martyrdom in death, like that sought by our enemy is mistaken but to the greater thinking world, admitting error is possible and more likely by no other nation than the United States; we’re great at proselytizing (think Democrats).

The catch is the more likely scenario. The United States and its allies disengage from the battle in the greater war; redeploy, draw down, withdraw and bring an end to the “war” only to find that we have given massive and unimaginable ground reminiscent of a Hamburger Hill magnified, but the planet is the hill. We then spend decades making up for the loss of momentum that we had within our grasp, yet threw away in our haste to end the “war.”

The preceding regarding battle versus greater war has been said and/or written before by many people, as this is the case, please forgive the repetition; at I have a lot of company.

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