Friday, September 08, 2006

Bush Quotes bin Laden; Calls for Rumsfeld to Resign Miss Point

The Democratic leadership, and some Republicans, are focusing on Get Rumsfeld "me-too-ism" as a way of proving anti-Iraq war credentials. But is getting rid of Rumsfeld enough? Focusing on Rumsfeld sends the message that the Iraq invasion was a good idea, but it was badly executed. This leaves in place the central Bush premise that, in the end, the invasion was justified and will make us safer in the long run.

Missing from Democrats' talking points are the plain facts that the invasion was a "gift" to bin Laden, according to CIA analyst Michael Scheuer, and that it "appeased" Al Qaeda, according to top bin Laden lieutenant al-Zawahari. As long as the president has become fond of quoting Al Qaeda, let's quote them a little more:

"We thank God for appeasing us with the dilemma in Iraq after Afghanistan. The Americans are facing a delicate situation in both countries. If they withdraw they will lose everything and if they stay, they will continue to bleed to death." - al-Zawahari in 2003 after the invasion of Iraq

The Democrats are ignoring a wonderful opportunity to turn Bush and Cheney's "appeaser" attacks against them. In his latest Fear Offensive in which he quoted bin Laden the president said: "The question is: Will we listen? Will we pay attention to what these evil men say?"

How slow and perfect a pitch must it be before the Democrats take the swing?

The truth is there was no good way to occupy a simmering powder keg of ethnic hatreds the size of California. Should have used more troops? What troops? We're having trouble keeping the ones we have there now, some going on their third and fourth rotations.

Democrats love the Rumfeld debate because it saves them from taking a stand. It's easy to say the war was badly managed. It's harder to say that it was wrong from the start, and then push for a partition plan, which is the only plan that makes sense for getting out of Iraq. It's harder to explain that it was George Bush who cut-and-ran, from the central front in the war on terror, Afghanistan and northern Pakistan, and exploited 9/11 to make his Halliburton buddies ultra-zillionaires.

Republicans love the Rumsfeld debate because it is a way to distance themselves from Bush, although it doesn't really. It merely makes Bush and Rumsfeld into a good-cop-bad-cop routine.

The problem isn't Rumsfeld. The problem is George Bush, and his counter-productive and morally repugnant interpretation of pre-emptive war. Knocking off Rumsfeld might be a good way of showing the administration is not invincible, but by itself it will not beat Bush's successful strategy of terror alerts, foiled plots, and new levels of fear-mongering that are coming with the Fall elections. Only the truth can strip Bush of his Protector-in-Chief iconography. As long as the Democratic leadership consists of spineless, craven cowards who fear the reaction of the Pit-Bull-Right to the truth, these truths will never make the front page. The tragedy is how pathetically this compares to the daily bravery of our young soldiers in the field, who deserve much better.


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