Thursday, September 27, 2007

Jim VandeHei and John F. Harris: Dems could do far more to end Iraq war

From a very true column on Democrat's failure to speak and act truthfully about Iraq,
Galling as it may be to Democrats, Bush still can claim to be acting with more clarity and courage than the congressional majority.

He believes the Iraq war is right and has thrown away things most politicians crave — approval ratings, and potentially his reputation in history — to get what he wants.

Democratic leaders believe the war is wrong but have pursued their beliefs with a series of ginger calculations that so far have achieved no substantive changes in policy.

They are acting with the same defensive-mindedness that led many Democrats to swallow deep misgivings and vote five years ago to authorize the war in the first place.

Many Democrats on Capitol Hill are in no mood just now to be lectured by MoveOn, the group whose ad denouncing “General Betray Us” was widely perceived to have backfired badly.

Whatever one’s view on the merits of the war, however, MoveOn Executive Director Eli Pariser is right that his ostensible Democratic allies have defined themselves by caution.
I think Bush right, and history will find him right too. But there is no certainty to this. Only that Bush and the GOP have given up those approval ratings to do right for the country and world as they see it.

What is certain though is Democrats failure to confront with the same courage Bush has shown. Their failure corrodes our politics with Bush bamboozled the Dems into voting for war. No, it's the Democrats lack of courage and conviction at work. We can judge them now without waiting for History's verdict.


Anonymous said...

No, I'm afraid that Bush bamboozled the Democrats into the war. He made the argument that Iraq was an immediate terrorist threat to the United States. And he was lying, as we know now.

It is true that many Democrats have bought into the idea that we have both a right and an obligation to set up regimes to our liking in other countries in the name of "democracy". This stupid idea originated with Woodrow Wilson.

These days, people who don't think we should play kingmaker to the world are called "isolationists", as though there are only two radical choices of action.

In your case, since Bush says that we attacked Iraq to promote democracy, you argue that people who oppose Bush and his war oppose democracy. This false black and white opposition has gotten so ingrained in our political discussions that even the Right has been distracted from what should have been the real question from their point of view. This is, even if we have the right to do what Bush did, did he do it competently or incompetently? All signs point to him doing it incompetently, but the Right will support him to the end, because they mistake intentions for actions.

We don’t need to wait for history to decide about Bush’s adventure. Even if it should somehow work out, crediting Bush for this would be like crediting Hitler for the success of the European Union, since Hitler started the war that started the political realignment that led to the Union.

In the real world, good intentions are not enough. And even if Bush were right and we did the right thing to invade Iraq to establish “democracy”, since he has completely screwed up the effort, his original intentions are irrelevant.

Bill Baar said...

In your case, since Bush says that we attacked Iraq to promote democracy, you argue that people who oppose Bush and his war oppose democracy.

I think we attacked Iraq because Saddam was a gathering threat.

Bush said,

Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.

Senate Intel Committee Chair Rockefeller thought Saddam an imminent threat,

I do believe that Iraq poses an imminent threat, but I also believe that after September 11, that question is increasingly outdated. It is in the nature of these weapons, and the way they are targeted against civilian populations, that documented capability and demonstrated intent may be the only warning we get. To insist on further evidence could put some of our fellow Americans at risk. Can we afford to take that chance? We cannot!

Now Rockefeller vots Nay on the Senates condemnation of the MoveOn.Org ad.

If Senator R. and other Senate Democrats think we're sending our Troops to war under command of a liar, they're obligated to speak a little more loudly in my book.

And once committed to getting rid of Saddam, the days when we would support a strong man are long, and rightly gone...

Rice told the Arab world Cairo,

Throughout the Middle East, the fear of free choices can no longer justify the denial of liberty. It is time to abandon the excuses that are made to avoid the hard work of democracy. There are those who say that democracy is being imposed. In fact, the opposite is true: Democracy is never imposed. It is tyranny that must be imposed.

Having gotten rid of Saddam as either a gathering or imminent threat, where in it for the long haul with the Iraqi people.

If the General leading us a liar, he needs to go. If Democrats truely believe it, they need to say so every day.

Anonymous said...

They do say so every day.

I don't see where Saddam was either a gathering or an immanent threat... to us. Or to anyone else outside of Iraq. The whole argument to me seems to be the leadership taking counsel of its own fears. "I am afraid of you. Therefore, it is reasonable that I have the right to attack you."

As for backing strongmen, we back them all over the world and have continued to do so since 9/11. Rice speaking in Cairo is speaking to Mubarak (in part); a strongman we have supported for almost a quarter of a century.

She is right that democracy is never imposed. What she should have continued to say is that any government that is imposed is by definition a tyranny. This is what we did in Iraq.

Will said...

Anon. wrote, "In your case, since Bush says that we attacked Iraq to promote democracy, you argue that people who oppose Bush and his war oppose democracy. This false black and white opposition has gotten so ingrained in our political discussions," blah, blah, blah.

For the life of me I can't find where in Bill B's post he said that. I think you're guilty of what you are lamely and falsely accusing Bill B. of, Anonymous.

Seems to me, Bill's just saying that the Dems lack courage.

Anonymous said...

Will, you need to read more of Bill's posts. Or are you saying that a blogger starts completely over with every new post, which must stand entirely alone.

Aside from that, so what?

blah blah blah.

Bill Baar said...

Bill's just saying that the Dems lack courage.

Yep, that's pretty much it.

thanks for saying so...

Bill W said...

But Bush and the GOP lack courage too. If they didn't, they would push their agenda without lying constantly.

So would you, for that matter.