Tuesday, September 11, 2007

General Petraeus Pulls A Freidman

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 — The top American commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, has recommended that decisions on the contentious issue of reducing the main body of the American troops in Iraq be put off for six months, American officials said Sunday.

General Petraeus, whose long-awaited testimony before Congress is to begin today at about 12:30 p.m. Eastern time, has informed President Bush that troop cuts may begin in mid-December, with the withdrawal of one of the 20 American combat brigades in Iraq, about 4,000 troops. By August 2008, the American force in Iraq would be down to 15 combat brigades, the force level before Mr. Bush’s troop reinforcement plan.[1]

The strategy for Iraq for the remainder of President Bush’s term is clear, delay, delay, delay. Taking a page from the syndicated columnist Thomas Freidman, the administration is going to prolong this surge six months at a time. Reminding us of the infamous Freidman timetables for Iraq, on fourteen different occasions Mr. Freidman predicted that the next six months were paramount to our success in Iraq and with every passing deadline a new one was inserted. This of course went on for two and half years, I wonder how many Freidman’s the General has planned for us?

Mr. Freidman was able to pull it off for over two years, the Bushies unfortunately have got only eighteen months. The refrain however is clear, we just need to stay the course another six months and progress is at hand. I don’t know how many of these “reports” it is going to take to get the message through, President Bush is not going to heed any advice but his own. To listen to others in his mind, is weakness. Forget the fact that this administration has been wrong in every major area of this conflict, forget the fact that all objective, bi-partisan observers have refuted his reasoning, he is right and everyone else is wrong.

The saddest part though is not Mr. Bush and the General; they are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing. For anyone to expect Mr. Bush to change course now after all these years of seeing him in action is foolishness. It is the Democrats that have no excuse, by their inaction in my mind they have lost any legitimate claim to govern. Governing by polls is not leadership. In this country’s darkest times when we have needed an actual opposition party, we have been left with a party of “do nothings”. It should be noted that when this administration was using torture, curbing our democratic freedoms, and instituting the “Bush Doctrine” these guys stood silently by acquiescing to a President that had no clear majority or mandate. Imagine how bad it would had been had Bush actually won an election?

There are many who believe that the Dems should just wait and let George Bush continue to create a majority in the next election cycle. They argue, if the Dems just don’t do anything stupid the White House and Congress is theirs for the taking. I however do not accept such a strategy, if the Democrats continue to politicize these issues that are tearing our country apart at the seams, what makes them any different from the Republicans? At least the Republicans are willing to take stands on issues even if they are unpopular. It used to be that the Democrats stood for certain values, now it appears that those values have been compromised by fear and inactivity.

The best we can get from them today is a lot of self-righteous howling and indignation, but very little action. It appears that they have abdicated their role as the opposition party in favor of a don’t rock the boat mentality. Rather than challenging the status quo they have chosen the path of least resistance. It’s no wonder this President has no fear of them and continues to push his un-mandated conservative agenda.

Who speaks for the dead and dying in Iraq, who speaks for the uninsured, who speaks for the working poor? It certainly isn’t these Democrats, they are too afraid. The current strategy appears to be that the election is theirs to lose, so don’t do anything stupid. The sad thing is that they also won’t do anything brave and heroic either. The thing about living in fear is that it may keep you safe, but it also keeps you from displaying any courage. Courage is not that I am never afraid; it is that I am afraid but I do what is required anyway. I do not expect to see any courage in the coming eighteen months and it will say a lot about those who will want to govern this country.

So, we only have 3 more Freidman’s to go. I wonder how many US troops and Iraqis will not live to see the end of the Freidman’s.

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/10/washington/10cnd-Petraeus.html?hp

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