Saturday, December 10, 2005

''Iraq and the Democrats''

"Here's the deal: we invaded Iraq to establish a permanent, muscular military presence in the Middle East; we invaded Iraq to take control of their petroleum reserves for the next hundred years, a pretty little piggy bank in a world where oil is becoming harder to find; we invaded Iraq so we could use our military presence there to attack and invade several other countries in the region; we invaded Iraq to establish strategic positioning for any economic and/or resource struggles with China and Russia; we invaded Iraq because administration officials who think they are members of the Likud Party believed this war would serve to protect and defend the state of Israel; we invaded Iraq so a bunch of military contractors with umbilical ties to the administration could get paid.

All of this is enshrined in the codicils of the Project for a New American Century, the organization whose membership rolls include Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Abrams, Libby and a pile of others who have crafted our insane foreign policy and thrown us into this mess. This is what they wanted. They've been planning it for years, well before they ever got into the White House with Bush. For them, victory had nothing to do with defeating Hussein or fighting terrorism or establishing democracy. Victory means we stay in Iraq forever.

Period. End of file.

When Wesley Clark and these other Democratic aspirants talk about "winning" in Iraq before we get out, they accept a premise that should be rejected out of hand. For the architects of this war, victory has already been achieved, and all arguments in favor of remaining in Iraq until impossible goals are reached strengthen that victory. There is no democracy at the end of this tunnel, only more tunnel.

When Wesley Clark and these other Democratic aspirants talk about "winning" in Iraq, they buy into the fantasy that there is anything to win. The invasion and occupation created a breeding ground for terrorism, immeasurably strengthened the resolve of Islamic fanaticism, ravaged the US treasury, and has seriously weakened our ability to defend ourselves against other global threats.

We cannot stay in Iraq. Were we to withdraw tomorrow, we would sow the seeds of future bloodshed and risk an all-out civil war. We would compound the crime already committed against the Iraqi people. But if we stay, if we buy into the idea that remaining in Iraq will cure these problems, we do exactly the same thing.

Rep. Murtha was right. It is the presence of American troops in Iraq that inspires the violence today. The solution, therefore, is beyond sloganeering or open-ended promises that cannot be fulfilled. We have to exit Iraq, but we must do so far more responsibly than the manner in which we first arrived there. We need a plan that involves international cooperation with organizations like NATO and the Arab League. The Iraqi people must be given the help they need to take over the security and economy of their own country, but this help cannot be provided by the United States. We do no good there, but only harm.

We absolutely need a timetable established for this to happen. Some have argued that the "terrorists" will use a timetable for withdrawal against us. This may be true, but such statements blue-sky right past a glaring reality: they are presently using the lack of a timetable for withdrawal against us, they are doing so effectively, and the body count continues to rise because of it.

An exit from Iraq is the only rational course of action. How and when we do it must become the central point of discussion in American politics. Timetables for that withdrawal must be established, and a real plan must be agreed upon. This administration, which has no interest in withdrawal for its own nefarious reasons, must be forced to accept this.

Democrats who aspire to higher office must not derail this process by accepting GOP talking points, talking points which serve to do little more than ensure that we will still be in Iraq when our great-grandchildren are old enough to vote.

Take all the rhetoric you've heard from Republicans and Democrats alike regarding "winning" in Iraq, wad it up, throw it into a metal wastecan, and set it on fire. Put all the talk about weapons of mass destruction and al Qaeda alliances and Hussein was a bad man and bringing democracy to the torch. Give this nonsense a good, old-fashioned Viking funeral, which provides far more of a dignified departure from this world than it deserves. Cast the ashes to the wind. Salt the earth where the ashes fall so that nothing so pestilently wrong can grow there.

We can win nothing in Iraq. We can only hope to survive the incredible disaster that has been foisted upon us. Rejecting the premise of "winning" is the first step toward that survival. Rejecting wrong-headed, deliberately misleading GOP talking points would be a good idea, as well. Getting out of Iraq is the only sane, sensible, responsible course of action. Any Democrats who hope to be President should heed this. They are ten steps behind the rest of the country, and when they buy into the nonsense, they only ensure their electoral doom."-excerpted from the post by Bill Pitt on

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