Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Good Cop, Bad Cop

Bush gives another generic "stay-the-course" speech on non-strategy in Iraq before the Council on Foreign Relations. Congressman Murtha - bigging up his prospects as a needed, credible and intellectual leader on defense issues for a Democratic party perceived as weak on such topics - follows quick with a press conference reacting to the Bush speech. Good cop, bad cop ...

Agreed: withdrawal is the most viable option available. That is certain to happen - the question is how immediate and on who's political timetable. It all depends on the outcome of the '06 mid-terms, the debate on the war as a rhetoricized campaigning veil measuring voter disposition.

We see Murtha's point that a "very small portion of those involved in insurgency are terrorists", although the many levels of violence taking place in Iraq on a daily basis seriously blur any definition of exactly who is fighting and for what. But, we differ on the assertion that US troops are caught in the middle of a "civil war." Calling it a "civil war" somehow minimizes the scope of the multi-front conflict we've allowed ourselves to get drawn into: World War IV. Iraq just happens to be one of those many fronts - a bottomless pit of a front at that. Let's not stray from that point and undervalue the global proportion of this. Let's not front as though there is something "seperate" between the Iraq "insurgency" and the larger "war on terrorism" - all of this is an interconnected mess.

Perusing the pages of The Hill today:

When Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) went to the White House in September 2002, as the president was shoring up congressional support for a resolution authorizing military force in Iraq, he brought a notepad.
“‘Does not want to put troops in harm’s way. Has WMD. Trained terrorists on WMD. … If military force is used it will be fierce, swift and tough.’” Ross recited the notes for The Hill recently, then looked up incredulously. “Swift? This is the end of 2005!”

Ross is among 81 mostly centrist House Democrats who sided with the administration on the war in October 2002 and supported sending troops to Iraq. Since then, many — 56 are still in Congress and still Democrats — have changed their minds, disillusioned with the administration’s handling of the war and the quality of prewar intelligence. Many say they wouldn’t vote the same way again.

“No, not knowing what I know now,” Ross said. “I think I was either lied to or we got some really bad intelligence. And I’m not sure I’ll ever know which it was.”

It starts looking more and more like a good cop, bad cop scenario, with the American public seated under a scorching lamp. But it doesn't matter since the whole Congress will have some trouble washing the blood from its hands.

Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-FL) in the Miami Herald:

The smartest thing Democrats could do is shut up, let the Republicans implode, and let John Murtha carry the ball, because his credibility is impeccable,'' said Hastings, a House Intelligence Committee member who does not support the call for immediate withdrawal.