Friday, November 10, 2006

And Things Just Keep Getting Better

I don’t think I realized just how tense I have been for the last few years. The Republicans were in control of every single branch of government and they were using their grip on power not just to implement their agenda, but also to beat all dissenting voices into submission and to turn our national treasury into their own personal bank. There has been so much corruption, so much bullying and so much fear mongering that I think it had taken a greater toll on all of us than we ever imagined. I feel like I can breath easy for the first time in longer than I care to admit.

Watching Rumsfeld get the axe, and have to stand there in front of the camera while it was done, was a joy I will never forget and the reports that Cheney was pissed off at being left out of the decision, made it all the more sweet. Now that Rumsfeld will soon be without the protection of his office, perhaps he will be held accountable for the abuse that was meted out in Iraq on his (and Alberto Gonzales’s) orders. It looks like Germany will take the first stab at it, as documents are set to be filed next week on behalf of eleven Iraqis that were held in Abu Ghraib prison along with one Saudi held at Gitmo, that will call for an investigation into the role played by Rumsfeld, Tenet, Gonzales and other US officials in the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo. I hope this is a sign that we are now entering the age of consequences.

I am a bit surprised that things are happening so fast. I’m used to waking up to one bad headline after another, so imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning to news that John Bolton is on his way out as well! I knew that things would be better if the Democrats took over, I just didn’t know we would see results this fast. John Bolton is a disaster and the absolute worst person to have representing us at the United Nations at a time (well, any time is a bad time for Bolton) when we need the world with us like never before.

And have you noticed the abrupt change in the discussion about Iraq? Just last week it was, “the only choice is victory in Iraq.” Now suddenly we have everyone, from all points on the political spectrum, in agreement that there is no winning in Iraq. The policy was a mistake from the beginning and every day since the initial invasion has just made the situation worse. We never should have gone in there and now that we’re there, in the middle of a civil war (that we started), the only thing left to do is mitigate the damage we will cause by leaving. As hard as it is to accept, we fucked up and we can’t fix it. We destroyed a country, sparked a civil war and we can’t put the genie back in the bottle, all we can do is get out of the way. Morally, what we have done is reprehensible, but logistically, there is no way to fix Iraq and our moral authority will only be restored with time (along with much hard work and many apologies).

The Bush administration led by the neo-cons wanted to transform the Middle East. Well, mission accomplished. Iran and Syria are rapidly gaining power and authority in the region (and just to round out the “axis of evil” North Korea now has a thriving nuclear program) and any resolution to the nightmare in Iraq will require their help. They’ve transformed the Middle East alright, but I doubt that this is what they had in mind. By disparaging our allies, disengaging from our “enemies” and shunning (even sabotaging) diplomacy, we have found ourselves here, despised by the rest of the world at the very moment we need their help to get us out of the mess we’ve created. I hope that this election goes some small distance in showing the rest of the world that the American people aren’t quite as ugly as the public face we’ve been presenting to the world for the past six years. I think we’re ready to admit our mistake and more than ready to start the hard work of salvaging Iraq and rebuilding our reputation, but the question remains, will the Bush administration continue to be a hindrance to that process or will the Democrats begin to engage the American people and use their newfound power to put us on a better track? Things are looking up, but this hole is pretty deep.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's appropriate that we get underway in relegating the Bush Jr. foreign policy team into the dustbin of history--Rumsfeld, Bolton, Cheney (hopefully). Doesn't the whole 'neocon' era already seem like a bad nightmare?? Never again. Yeah right!

11:51 AM  
Anonymous lester said...

I think much of the blame should be given to rupert murdoch. he pays the salaries at fox and the weekly standard. those are the main culprits and he's the puppet master.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Dale H. said...

I can't say that I thought it would be a slam dunk.
Thanks George Tennant for invalidating that as a metaphor for certitude!

However I've long thought that when you reach a critical mass of incompetence, hypocisy and mendacity that causes people to virtually scream out "ENOUGH!", then the results are predictable.
Among the swing groups that tilted heavily toward Democrats:

_Independents backed Democrats by 57-39 _ after voting for the GOP by 48-45 in 2002.

_Moderates backed Democrats by 60-38 _ after voting Democratic 53-45 in 2002.

_Suburbanites backed Democrats by 50-48 _ after voting for the GOP 57-40 in 2002.

_Those in the middle class _ those who make more than $30,000 a year but less than $75,000 a year _ backed Democrats 52-45 after more than half supported the GOP in 2002.

_Hispanics backed Democrats 69-30 _ after backing Democrats 61-37 in 2002.

The 2006 results come from a national exit poll of 13,208 voters conducted for The Associated Press and television networks by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International.

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Betty Cracker said...

The hole is incredibly deep. But like you, I have hope now that the talking points have shifted to how best to extricate ourselves from the freaking quagmire and no one (with a shred of credibility or a recently elected office, anyway) has the bad taste to utter the words "stay the course."

What passes for the grown-ups on the GOP side -- Bush the Elder's team -- seem to be setting the agenda for Shrubya now. Better those corrupt bastards than the madmen who were in charge, I guess.

What scares me is this: sometimes the lessons of defeat are easier to learn than the lessons of victory. I don't doubt for a moment that Rove & Co. are already tuning up their plan for 2008. How will the Dems answer?

I hope they won't go back to the losing strategy of trying to out-Republican the Republicans. If people like Rahm Emmanual get their way, that's what will happen, and I think it would be a terrible mistake.

6:25 PM  
Anonymous kindlingman said...

You wrote:
"Morally, what we have done is reprehensible, but logistically, there is no way to fix Iraq and our moral authority will only be restored with time (along with much hard work and many apologies)."

I am not in agreement. I was opposed to the war in Iraq and stood on the local bridge with my sign for three hours in freezing cold weather to make my personal protest. However, we cannot leave Iraq. It is MORE immoral to leave Iraq than it was to invade it. (Unless you have a heart of cold steel.)

What has happened to the American liberal that I knew? The ones who cried out for social justice in the 1960's would not abandon a responsibility to a fellow human.

Do you not read the Iraqi bloggers and the fear they experience everyday because we have failed to make that country safe?

What kind of a liberal pines for global warming treaties to prevent human suffering and then permits the wanton killing and execution of innocents?

What kind of American liberal is derelict in his/her responsibility to correct an injustice that our own country has undertaken?

J'accuse! I accuse liberals of caring more about snail darters than women and children. I accuse liberals of caring more about hybrid cars and solar energy than the lives of people in a country that the US destroyed. I accuse liberals of preferring a mocha coffee instead of righting a wrong.

Please do not speak of the moral high ground. Abandoning the people of Iraq is immoral.

Like it or not, this failed President has put us in the moral position that we should not and must not evade. There are solutions to Iraq. We need to be adult; we need to recognize our responsibility and take action to recover from this failure.

8:13 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Kindlingman--It is precisely because I care about the welfare of the Iraqi people that I argue in favor of leaving Iraq. We cannot do anything now, we are the targets and we are the problem. I don't, by any stretch, think that we should abandon Iraq, we are responsible for the devastation there, we have a moral obligation to try to mitigate the damage, but we cannot do that while occupying their country.

We will have to continue to pour money into Iraq (for a very long time) and we will have to use every bit of leverage we have to help find a diplomatic solution, but we can't secure the country! How many more years will it take for that to be made abundantly obvious? We must bring in other countries, we will have to beg Iran and Syria to help, we will have to keep our troops in the area, but we can no longer be the occupiers, we are only making matters worse by trying to create a democracy at the barrel of a gun.

We have sparked a civil war, that is the reality. How does it help to stand in the middle and shoot outwards in all directions? The truth is, it doesn't, it only contributes to the suffering. Iraqis are killing Iraqis yes, but we are killing Iraqis too, and in far greater numbers.

The best thing that will happen when our troops are pulled out, is that the war profiteers will be forced to leave as well. Then there can be some real progress toward rebuilding Iraq, by Iraqi workers and with Iraqi resources that should all be paid for with American dollars. There has to be a security force in Iraq, but the face of that force cannot be American. It must be international. We do owe them (and that debt will likely never be paid in full), but we cannot help them alone. We are the source of their suffering, how does it help them for us to stay, especially when our idea of securing the country is going in and leveling their cities every couple of months in an attempt to "root out the insurgents"?

12:06 AM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...


besides a revisionist history thatis being developed with regard to the Iraq war, the talking points now are that:

a. the only reason Dems won is that conservative Dems ran

b. the Dems didn't win, repubs lost by not being conservative enough (yeah, stick with that one and get back to me in '08 to let me know how that one works out)

Lester is right, the problem is murdoch as much as anyone

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I agree with LGND. It is time the US an UK quit Iraq. No, it won't fall to pieces.

Announce a June 30, 2007 departure date and hand the current Iraqi government the billions of dollars for reconstruction now and you'll soon see some good old Iraqi "know-how" at work.

Let's face it. Saddam had Iraq up and running after the first Gulf War in a matter of a few months. The US hasn't been able to do anything in three years. (Except skim money off the top.)

And what will happen to Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld? They all could face charges in the ICC. They've ordered torture, kidnapping, pre-emptive war, collective punishment (That's article 33 of Geneva Con 4. All could land them in jail.

Actually, their abuse of domestic law could well land them in jail. Why impeach either Bush or Cheney? Just charge them with breaking the laws of the land and send them to the Big House.

Bush will lose all interest in his job now. Not that he ever was that interested. He is the president who has taken the most vacation time in history. But Bush's pattern in his past jobs was to pay his buddies well, take a cut for himself, screw up royally, and move on before things fell apart. He hasn't managed to escape the falling apart bit yet. Still, I don't expect he'll leave Crawford much over the next two years.

BTW, have the Democrats taken a new position on signing statements? I think one of their first acts should be to rescind all 750+ signing statements made by Bush. Honestly, that's why the president has a Veto; if he doesn't like a law, he can veto it and challenge Congress to send it again. Those signing statements have been the most weasely thing about this presidency.

6:54 PM  
Anonymous kindlingman said...

LGND, good, we have some common ground, we cannot abandon Iraq.
At the moment I am favoring a confederation of Iraqi states with their own militia's plus a federal government. I see all National Guard troops back home in two years and a regular Army force of 50-75,000 troops sitting outside of the Iraqi cities: highly mobile, rapid reaction to civil disorder,transportation security, piepline security, and rural insurgencies.
I would think that reducing the 'in city' footprint will reduce the opportunities to target American soldiers and enhance the Iraqi policing of the population.
Safety of its citizens is the first priority of any civilized government. This is what we should be promoting: safety and self rule.

2:50 AM  

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