Monday, January 15, 2007

So, this is the surge

So many ways to go, so many things to say about the President's plan announced last week.

First, the obvious. The President has only a handful of people left around him who believe that this escalation in troop level even has a potential for success. Sen. John McCain, who is betting his run at the presidency on the success of the Bush plan, is backing away by telling people there is no "guarantee" that the troop surge will be successful. Well, no kidding, Sen. McCain. Just about everybody else recognizes that it's far closer to a guarantee that this time next year, Iraq will be in the same clutches of violence, or worse. The only difference will be the higher casualty numbers for American soldiers.

And yet the President and his team continue the same song they've been singing since this whole mess started. Sen. Joe Liebermann (the "independent" Democrat) had the gall to trot out the old line that if the United States isn't successful in Iraq, that the terrorists that are fighting in Iraq now will soon be coming over to the United States.

Really, Sen. Liebermann? Like if that was true, there isn't a single thing stopping them from coming over here now? It's not like we've taken any action during this administration like, you know, implementing the 9/11 Commission reports, to increase our border security. Of all the specious arguments attempting to justify this bloody adventure in Iraq, the "fight them there so we don't fight them here" is the worst. Not only is it laughable in it's accuracy, it ultimately has the effect of deadening the American people to the effect of 9/11.

That's what finally struck me this morning as I was thinking about the events of the week. This President has used 9/11 as a cudgel so many times in an attempt to scare people into supporting him, or at least shutting up enough so he can get done what he wants. The PATRIOT Act. Guantanamo Bay. Warrantless wiretapping of American citizens. An endless, senseless, open-ended war. The ESCALATION of an endless, senseless, open-ended war.

So now, when the spectre of 9/11 is raised, I don't think with sadness and anger about how we as a nation came together to cherish our freedoms, honor our fallen, and hold fast to the principles that inspired the birth of this nation. Instead, I think of a president who has shamelessly, calculatingly, and methodically used the deaths of those people on that fateful day in an attempt to re-cast the United States in his own, neo-conservative image.

How dare you, Mr. President.

It doesn't stop there. One of the hallmarks of this administration is to fix a problem by renaming it. In yet another shocking display of hypocricy, the president who berated Bill Clinton for prevaricating on the meaning of the word "is" has given us the War on Terror, the Global War on Terror, the Global Struggle against Radical Extremism, has told us to stay the course, has told us that we never were staying the course, has told us the war in Iraq was like World War II, has told us the war in Iraq was never like World War II, has told us we were winning in Iraq, has told us that we aren't winning but we aren't losing in Iraq (evidently believing that we're now tied, or something).

And now, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice tells us that the additional 21, 000 American lives being thrown into the meat-grinder that is Iraq is not an escalation, but merely an "augmentation" of forces.

Seriously. The most recent public opinion surveys show that the President's approval rating on his handling of the war is at 27 percent, and what amazes me is that there still could be 27 percent of the country that has not seen through this calculated insanity.

We will never know if there is anything that could be done to actually stop this escalation of troop levels into Iraq. The Democrats have made a calculated decision to vote on a non-binding resolution to support or oppose the President's plan first, meaning that by the time they get to actually talking about funding, the troops will be there and the Democrats can say that they don't want to "take the bullets away from the troops on the ground."

The Democrats have decided to let the surge happen, and let the President take the fall when it fails. They have chosen the path of moral cowardice in favor of political expediency, and all that remains to be seen is how many American lives that decision will cost.

But while the failure of the Democrats to stand up and fight this evil is saddening, make no mistake. This is President Bush's war, and ultimately the souls of the slain Americans and the slain Iraqis will be on his conscience. The next generation of jihadists that have grown up during Bush's war will be his responsibility as they grow in the fertile soil of war, violence, tribalism, and death, to become the next generation of al Qaeda recruits.

In 2008, we will be choosing a new president. Heaven help that person, as the inheritance he or she will receive is a difficult one. Whoever takes the mantle of the presidency from George W. Bush will have a herculean task to restore the soul of America.

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