Its frustrating to me when an argument is advanced that, while the republicans might have botched Iraq, the democrats don’t have articulated a viable plan for the struggle against Islamic terrorism. I concede that the dems need to better voice such an alternate vision, but I disagree that there is “no plan.” There are competing alternate plans, and the democratic leadership has been slow to adopt one or the other of them. But there is a competent democratic vision for more than a year now that has articulated re-engaged diplomatic, social, economic and educational efforts in the Muslim world in conjunction with a re-deployed, targeted military application (and a withdrawal of some sort from the debacle that is Iraq). There is internal disagreement about how to handle Iraq, but my view is that we’ve made a mess and have a moral obligation to work to fix it if it can be fixed, and that we might not be the best ones to do the military part of that fixing any more. Our army there, at the moment, is making it worse, not better.
That vision is opposed to
in conjunction with a Republican view of ‘stay the course:’ we must win, we in fact are winning, and we don’t need any real change to get the job done. At least, that’s been the vision up to recent days. The frustrating part is how vapid that vision is, and how politically inspired it has been: this is the strategy for optimal political success in the US (since it makes those dems look like weak flip-floppers!), so lets stick with it.
Only now, when huge numbers of the American public are waking up to our inability to sustain our current course in Iraq, to what our military involvement there means for our limited military application elsewhere in a troubled world (read: Korea, Iran, Syria, Sudan, &c), to month after month of “deadliest months for US troops” caught in the middle of a Civil War we can’t stop or adjudicate, only weeks before an election which, polls suggest, might well spell disaster for the Republican party, only then are we told that, no, that vision articulated earlier was not really the vision. In truth, the vision is something different, and actually a bit more like what the democrats have been saying.
And here is the president’s own backtracking: http://thinkprogress.org/2006/10/22/bush-stay-the-course/
So tell me: what is left of the republican “vision” for the global war on terror? How are we going to succeed in this struggle that we really must succeed in, if those who are leading us are not really leading at all, but are working on keeping their power at home? I’m honestly struggling to give Bush and co. as much benefit of the doubt as I can, but come on, the evidence is right there, in video and in transcript. I just hope that we don’t bite it hook, line, and sinker…
I really feel for our military on the ground, who are on the front lines of this thing. Egads.
(…Note: edited Tuesday PM to add an extra hyperlink.)