Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Please, please, PLEASE! Don't vote to fund the war in Iraq on the president's terms.

I was really proud that the Democrats pulled together last month and (in spite of almost hourly veto threats from the Decider!) passed a resolution that set a timetable for withdrawal.

I want us to withdraw all of our troops from Iraq today (or at least start the process today). Yes, I know most Americans (including the Democrats) are confused about what to do, afraid things will get worse if leave. It is essentially Bush's refrain since 2004, if we leave Iraq will descend into chaos or civil war. And everyday support for our failed strategy drops both at home (70% want a time-line for withdrawal) and in Iraq (80%+ want a time-line for withdrawal). Nobody questions Bush's assumption, despite the fact that every single thing he has said about Iraq is wrong!

I think it is just as likely (even more likely) that if we withdraw, the majority of the Sunnis and the majority of the Shiites will reach a true power-sharing compromise, since without US troops, the alternative would be a regional Islamic civil war. The moment the US leaves, Iran and Syria will no longer benefit from instability in Iraq, quite the contrary they will benefit from reducing violence in Iraq. And without US troops in Iraq, who in Iraq would support Al-Queda? It is possible that a small sliver of the minority of the Sunni minority might, but the overwhelming majority of Iraqis will not want, or support, or even tolerate a terrorist organization in their midst--especially one as active as the current Al-queda group. Without popular support (or at least tolerance) Al-queda will be forced to withdraw from Iraq. Will all hostilities cease overnight? No, of course not. But a new dynamic will begin where Iraq becomes less violent over time (just the opposite of the current US occupation dynamic where it becomes more violent year after year).

Is this vision of Iraq speculative? Of course it is, but so is the fear (and we must recognize that it is simply fear) that Iraq will collapse into utter chaos. Nobody knows what will happen if we withdraw. Moreover, at least my vision is rooted in the self interest of all the parties in and around Iraq (save for Al-queda perhaps--although they will be so jubilant that they faced down the Americans they may declare mission accomplished and go home).

In any event, I am mortified that the Democrats are simply giving up their resistance to Bushco and his neverendingwaronterrormirediniraqcivilwar. He has the lowest approval rating on record and more than 2/3 of Americans want us out of Iraq, and how does the Congress express the peoples disapproval? By giving $120 billion with no strings attached to enable him to continue this negative sum game that strikes me as human sacrifice on a grand scale.

Last year the Republicans controlled both houses of congress, and I could persist in believing that it would be different if Democrats held the purse strings. No longer. If the Democrats fund the war (the most unpopular war waged by the most unpopular president which is demonstrably hurting our national and strategic interests abroad) with no strings attached, I will truly have to face the fact that my country is a bad country. Despite the wisdom of our founding fathers who gave congress the duty to manage war finances, we must face the fact that fear of being labeled a "war micro-manager" [and just for the record, micro-manage implies a desire to manage everything down to the smallest detail...simply setting a deadline is normally considered management, even prudent management, something the Republicans obviously no longer do] or "loser" in a campaign ad is stronger than our congresses willingness to represent the people that elected it barely 6 months ago. No courage, no principles, no audacity, and precious little hope :(


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