And People Wonder Why I'm So "Angry"
Oh, joy. Hot in from his success on the 9/11 Committee and Iraq Study Group (ISG) the ever Wise and Civil Lee Hamilton explains why nothing is going to change in Iraq and the killing and draining of the treasury will go on and on and on...
President Bush staked out his position on Iraq in January, and the House has now staked out its own. Deep divisions between these positions signal a stalemate among our political leaders. There is no unity of effort. Yet the president and the Democratic majorities in Congress will remain in office for nearly two years. They must seek a bipartisan consensus in the months ahead; otherwise, our efforts in Iraq will falter.
That's right, "they" are the problem. All of them, a pox on both their houses, Clinton did it just like Bush, yadda, yadda. Nevermind Bush's long record of arrogance, "deciderism," stonewalling, petulance, pleasuring...It's because everyone in the Beltway can't play nice, and everyone shares equal blame and fault.
The American people have soured on the war. They clearly are looking for a responsible transition for U.S. forces out of Iraq.
Soured? Soured??? The American people hate this war, they hate the fact that it has cost them health care and good schools and decent jobs, they hate the fact that it has made us look impotent and stupid in the eyes of the world, and in those of real terrorists, they hate the fact that thousands of veterans are lying in beds of their own piss nursed by cockroaches and bats flying out of mold covered holes in the ceiling. Feh. I've got some 'sour' for you right here, Mr. Cushy Beltway cocktail circuit Brahman.
The House supplemental spending plan outlines a transition, as do proposals pending in the Senate. Moving forward, the president and Congress must become partners, and not antagonists, toward this end.
The Democrats offer a watered down, nonbinding, still fat with money of Halliburton, war extending bill, and it's not enough. Bush offers: jack fucking shit. But Democrats are the ones who need to think of "partnership" with Bush, which he had repeatedly demonstrated how he defines: The Decider's Way, or the highway.
A strategy of sustained pressure on the Iraqi government to advance national reconciliation, provide security and improve the lives of the Iraqi people offers the best chance of advancing stability.
You know, I keep reading about this "sustained pressure" on the Iraqi "government" and I have yet to read exactly what that is or who is responsible for it. Is pressure defined as harsh language? No cookies at teatime? Being left off the list of the latest Mclean lobbyist's blowout orgy? A spanking? Money keeps pouring out of the treasury to Iraq, schools keep getting painted, our troops keep dying...and best of all, the Iraqi "government" doesn't even meet with regularity, let alone accomplish anything. Please point out to me a concrete and productive example of how and when we've "pressured" them.
U.S. military forces have performed valiantly, but they cannot by themselves accomplish these goals -- only Iraqis can. As President Bush told the nation on Jan. 10, "only the Iraqis can end the sectarian violence and secure their people."
To that end, the House bill lays out the steps that the Iraqi government must take. These benchmarks are not new.
So they will work this time because...why?
They have been widely agreed upon by the White House and the Iraqi government, as have target dates for completion. At issue is the conditionality of U.S. support. Time and again, Iraqis have missed deadlines. Time and again, deadlines have been extended, and U.S. political, economic and military support has continued and even increased.
The House bill breaks this cycle. By compelling the president to report Iraq's performance to Congress, the House provides a necessary mechanism to track progress.
So who here thinks that the Chimp will read more than a version of "My Pet Goat," assuming he shows up at all, when it's time for him to have his PTA moment? How does this "tracking progress" bring an end to the war? Where are the specific, binding aspects of this legislation which will meaningfully compel the Iraqi government to do anything?
and By tying continued U.S. support -- including the presence of U.S. troops -- to benchmarks, it uses the strongest possible leverage to press Iraqi leaders to meet their commitments.
The House outlines a 2008 target date for U.S. forces to leave Iraq. It sets a direction for policy but leaves implementation to the president. The residual force it authorizes gives the president considerable flexibility to protect U.S. interests with a substantial presence of U.S. troops. The president manages the war and makes the decision about the force level needed to defend U.S. military forces and civilians in Iraq, conduct counterterrorism operations and train Iraqi security forces. This transition is flexible, not fixed. It is responsible, not precipitate.
Oh my fucking god, someone kill me now. Or: let me be ultra cynical. This bill is designed so that when it's President Hillary doing the deciderating, she can have all the money and troops she needs, ready to protect
Israel's our national interests from the Global Terror Threat that just happens to morph into whatever form is best suited to keep pumping billions monthly into the military-industrial complex and jesus, it's too early to cut my head off.
Even with the more assertive congressional role outlined in the bill, determinations on Iraqi benchmark performance and certifications on the readiness of U.S. military units are left to the president. He has the authority to waive limitations on troop deployments. The president must retain this flexibility and authority as commander in chief.
Throws rope over roofbeam, aligns chair
But more needs to be done. Just as a narrow focus on a "surge" of U.S. forces will not bring stability to Iraq, neither will a narrow focus on the readiness of U.S. forces and the conditions of U.S. support. What we need is a "surge" of political, economic and diplomatic engagement as well.
And just who is doing all that? Condi? Shooter? The Easter bunny? Last time I checked, we were importing translators from Jordan, so few experts in Iraqi culture have we in our military and diplomatic forces in Iraq. "What we need" sounds great. What is actually being done? Anyone? Bueller?
The Senate leadership's resolution speaks appropriately to the importance of a comprehensive approach and a diplomatic offensive in the region. The administration's efforts to engage all of Iraq's neighbors -- including Iran and Syria -- in a regional forum represent a good first step.
Lambert, this is enough to make me fall off the wagon for all time. "A good first step?" By demonizing both states and emboldening the reactionary and theocratic forces there to take even greater control? By giving them all the motivation in the world to arm proxy armies and aquire nukes??? By telling them to fuck off when they actually do come to the diplomatic table? Christ.
These efforts must be energized with high-level contacts. They must be sustained through careful preparation and follow-through, as well as the creation of an international support group on behalf of national reconciliation in Iraq and stability in the region.
Your wisdom and insight are like mead from the gods, o Wise Man of Washington. Such manly, forceful language you use...I'm wet.
Congress and the administration should also place greater emphasis on training Iraqi security forces, both police and military. Unless their training becomes the primary mission of U.S. forces, it will be difficult to withdraw U.S. combat troops.
Wow. I bet no one in Iraq has ever thought of that! I mean, gee, if we could just get some trainers over there and give the Iraqi police some guns and money and some functional buildings and electricity. Hey! Look! It's Santa Claus! Let's ask him for all that stuff. Then, in just one or two more FUs, the flowers and candy will flow in the streets of Baghdad.
The House bill is a step forward. Yet it is only one step in a process that will unfold in many ways over several months. With our young men and women in harm's way, the debate will be understandably passionate.
It makes all the fuzzy, civil people in the Beltway feel good about themselves, of that I have no doubt.
It is my hope that out of this debate a better policy on Iraq will emerge: That is how our Founders designed the system to work. The president must respect the views of the American people and the role of Congress, and Congress must respect the president's responsibility for carrying out foreign policy.
You know what I hope for, Lee? Republican traitors and criminals hanging from lamp posts on every street in America. Also, a billion dollars accidentially shipped to my home instead of to CACI coffers in Iraq. Your eyes still work, right geezer? Well then take a fucking look at who is sitting in the White House and tell me how the fuck you expect anything with even a semblence of "respect for the views of the American
focus group people" is to be found there?
To bring the war to a responsible conclusion, our leaders have an obligation to come together. They must find a bipartisan consensus and rally public opinion behind it. The best way to move forward in Iraq is to unify America's effort.
And always close with a Dogwhistle, kids- that's how the pros do it. "Bipartisanship" will bring us flowers and candy and ponies and Jesus, praise Allah and let the healing begin.
I am going to go throw heavy objects now.