Wednesday, August 22, 2007



Driving to the airport earlier I listened to Randi Rhodes and Democratic strategist Brent Budowsky. He was making a great deal of sense right up until I had to park my car and jump on the shuttle for the terminal. And when I got to my hotel, I found, essentially, much of what he told Randi in a story he penned this morning's Hill, Many Democrats Are Wrong On Iraq. That may sound like a no-brainer for normal grassroots Democrats and progressives but for the species of Dems who live Inside the Beltway and, more importantly, earn their livings by catering to Democratic conventional wisdom created by the likes of Harold Ford, Al From and other DLC corporatists, Rahm Emanuel, Chuck Schumer, the NeoCon think tanks, and the Clinton Machine, it is... heavy.

Beltway Democrats reflexively respond and react to Republican/DLC framing. That's what's making the Mahoneys and Bairds and McNerneys roadkill right now and it's what Randi wanted to address on her show with Budowsky, today. He knows better. The tragedy is that these foolish Democrats-- from an "ex"-Republican imbecile like Mahoney to a solid, if confused, progressive like McNerney-- are reacting based on the lie that violence in down in Iraq and Bush's escalation is something other than a disaster and catastrophe. Are wonder if someone is drugging them. They certainly don't seem to be paying much heed to the NY Times Op-Ed McNerney recommended yesterday by the 7 front line troops in Iraq, The War As We Saw It or by the incredible blog by Army of Dude. Why bother with the vagaries of sloppy reality when you can get a version all neatly packaged from the Regime, even if that Regime, its allies, enablers, and apologists have been wrong and continue to be wrong and are inherently incapable of not being wrong?
Confronted with an obsessed and intransigent president, Republicans in Congress who are endlessly submissive to presidential power and disastrous policies, and a Democratic national security establishment that is incoherent and careerist, the most likely outcome in September is this:

The president will win full support for the full escalation without any effective limitation in what would be the third disastrous Democratic failure in the new Congress, the first being its surrender on Iraq before the May recess, the second being its surrender on the Constitution before the August recess.

Budowsky reminds us that Bush's failed escalation should be opposed by Democrats. "Any success in Anbar is not because of the surge, but because of the deals made with Sunni insurgents who shortly before the deals were killing Americans, and who are now receiving American aid. This would have happened with or without the surge." And what makes it worse is that these are the kinds of short-sighted deals the U.S. military made with bin-Laden in Afghanistan. You know what that led too. It's hard to imagine that the Bush Regime doesn't.
Setting aside the moral and strategic issue of giving money and (directly or indirectly) weapons to those who were recently killing Americans, the end game of these deals depends on the end game of Iraqi politics.

If one believes, as I do, that the government of Iraq (no matter who is prime minister) is unable ever to reach a reconciliation that includes Sunnis and Shi’ites, the aid America is now giving to Sunni insurgents will ultimately be used to kill Shi’ites, and possibly Americans, in escalated sectarian war.

Bush's moronic statements today comparing the Iraq quagmire with the failure of America's war of aggression in Vietnam, basically calls for endless war based on a premise that if we don't stay there, our Iraqi quislings and collaborationists will be killed or be forced to flee and the country will degenerate into an even worse civil war than Bush has already caused.

You may not remember how the U.S. used to replace Vietnamese rulers, some of whom we had murdered. Watch the same pattern develop in Iraq.
Centuries of history prove the tendency, very deep in Iraqi society, not only to break apart, but to fight wars within itself, sectarian faction against sectarian faction.

This was known long before the war began, ignored by an ignorant president with the arrogance to believe that an aggressive preemptive war followed by a corrupt Roman-like occupation could prove history and demographics wrong. It was known by a fossilized, careerist, and incoherent Democratic national security establishment with too many who want to be secretary of state, and too few who combine clarity with political courage.

This was known yesterday; it is known today; it will be known tomorrow. The great issue is how many Americans must die before our policy matches the history, culture, politics and realities of the country we invaded so casually and are trapped in so catastrophically.

The situation today is identical to the various interludes of delusion throughout this war when progress was claimed to be right around the corner. The statue of Saddam fell; Saddam was captured; the Iraqi election was held; Zarqawi was killed. These were all short-term successes
that changed nothing, each met with crowing victory claims by the president, by incoherence from the Democratic security establishment, and by submission from the Congress. Each meant nothing in the end, except to provide rationale for the body count to rise while the carnage continued.

At every step, truth was falsified, false hopes were raised, and failure continued. At every step propaganda was used to create heroes, from Pat Tillman to Jessica Lynch-- legitimate heroes in real life, used as public-relations pawns with tissues of lies, deceptions and frauds.

You may recall me mentioning a few days ago, after my chat with Peter Beinart on a plane back from L.A., that the Democratic national security "experts" (remember, I favor Jane's 3 poodles over the whole lot of them) worship-- for no discernible reason I can figure out-- at the alter of General Petraeus. As Budowsky correctly put it "Our current commander, Gen. Petraeus, is a great military thinker from a great military organization, the 101st Airborne, with a near-perfect record of failure in Iraq. His original efforts early in the war led to ultimate sectarian conflict within his regional command. His next mission for training Iraqis to 'step up so we step down' was terribly failed, obviously. He allowed American weapons to fall into the hands of our enemies through mismanagement during his tenure... a record in Iraq that was so failed and flawed that only in the George Bush era would such a record be deified, and only with such incoherence from the Democratic national security establishment and such insiderism and laziness from the major media could such a deification of past failures be accepted."

I don't expect Republicans and the worst and most reactionary of the Democrats, the ones who have enabled Bush from Day One, to declare all this to be a "success." Real Democrats should stand with the people of this country who grow more furious by the day over this disconnect with Insider's and their pigheadedness and ignorance and obstinance. It's time to end the occupation of Iraq. In fact, it's long passed time. If the Democrats don't do it, they will have earned the opprobrium headed their way.

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At 11:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thank you for calling attention to the Brent Budowsky piece in another great DWT article.

It is well worth highlighting.

I am not very happy about McNerney's recent misstep. Anyone who bases a change of view on having seen an orchestrated military dog-and-pony show in Iraq is truly, truly naive.


At 11:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate it when you travel. It cuts down the number of daily posts.

Nevertheless, I appreciate all the insight I can get from DWT.

Thankfully, I was able to stream the Randi Rhodes/Brent Budowsky interview for the "full hour."


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