Laura Bush went on Larry King last night and said, “No one’s pro-war.” She also suggested that we will probably still be in Iraq at the end of the Bush presidency. These do not sound like the typical White House talking points to me, which could mean one of two things. Either Laura Bush is unable or unwilling to stay on message or Laura Bush is trying to prod her husband closer to reality. Given her track record, the former is certainly more likely, but the latter is certainly more intriguing.
John McCain seems to have once been a reasonable fellow. He was always very conservative–I never understand his popularity on the left during the 2000 campaign, except perhaps as a reaction to the obvious doublespeak of the Bush camp–but he at least stood for something. As we face the frightening prospect of this old man running for the highest office again despite apparently slipping into senility and losing all conception of justice in his quest to become president, I am posting here two McCains–then and now.
“If you get involved in a major ground war in the Saudi desert, I think support will erode significantly. Nor should it be supported. We cannot even contemplate, in my view, trading American blood for Iraqi blood.”
John McCain, New York Times, August 19, 1990.
As a Sabbath-observant Jew myself, I have nothing but respect for Senator Lieberman’s (I-CT) decision to put his faith first over the years, refusing to, among other things, campaign on the Sabbath, and voting in Congress only when absolutely crucial – that is, to say, when lives are on the line. You can imagine my dismay, then, when I read that this past Saturday “Joementum” walked to the Hill to cast a vote against allowing for debate of a non-binding Senate resolution symbolically opposing the McCain-endorsed escalation of the War in Iraq. Apparently, Lieberman feels so strongly that any Congressional debate of our increasingly murky mission in Iraq would give comfort to the enemy that he’s willing to violate the sanctity of the Sabbath to keep his colleagues from so much as opening discussion as to the efficacy of an American mission that has left 3000 of our own servicemen and women dead, not to mention hundreds of thousands of Iraqi men, women, and children. For shame, Joe, for shame.
Representative Nadler gave a long speech against the war, the escalation, and the pathetic lack of resolve from Congress on the floor of the House today. Crooks and Liars has video, as usual.
” In the Supplemental Budget we will consider next month, we should exercise the only real power we have – the Congressional power of the purse. We will not cut off the funds, and leave our troops defenseless before the enemy, as the demagogues would imply, but we should limit the use of the funds we provide to protecting the troops while they are in Iraq and to withdrawing them on a timetable mandated in the law. We should provide funds to rebuild the army and to raise our readiness levels, for diplomatic conferences in case there is any possibility of negotiating an end to the Iraqi civil war, and for economic reconstruction assistance, but above all, we must use the power of the purse to mandate a timetable to withdraw our troops from Iraq.
“We must use the power the people have entrusted to us. The best way to protect our troops is to withdraw them from the middle of a civil war they cannot win, and that is not our fight.
“I know that, if we withdraw the troops, the civil war may continue and could get worse. But this is probably inevitable, no matter how long our troops remain. And if the Iraqis must fight a civil war, I would rather they fight it without 20,000 more Americans dying.
“Yes, the blindness of the Administration is largely to blame for starting the civil war in Iraq, but we cannot end it. Only the Iraqis can settle their civil war. We can only make it worse, and waste our blood and treasure pointlessly.”
One problem with the war that has received a great deal of attention with the forward-thinking Dems body as we discussed our unified position on Iraq is that of regional instability. The war itself has led to enormous regional instability, and we felt that any plan we endorsed would have to address that. It is, therefore, sadly inappropriate that–on the very night that we chose to endorse a position–news of just such instability came out of Iran. A bus bombing killed eighteen people a few hours ago in Iran. Yes, that’s IraN. Bush’s mishandling of this debacle seems to be pushing us ever closer to a protracted regional conflict in a region prone to disastrous conflicts. Whether Douglas MacArthur really said it or not, the Princess Bride was almost certainly right about the follies of a land war in Asia.