Friday, January 12, 2007

"They lost the war..."

It was not my intention to say much about the president's speech or the proposed (pick one: escalation, surge, deployment, increase, other) in Baghdad. But Sarah Robinson says it so well I have to link to her remarks.

There's no step the Democrats can take on Iraq that won't leave this one tied around their necks for the next three decades, too. If they force Bush to leave now, Republicans will accuse them of undermining The Plan. (There was a plan? Do tell.) If they don't, a Democratic president will be stuck cleaning up the mess in 2009. (Guess what: cleaning up GOP messes is nothing new for Democratic administrations.)

If our new Congressional Dems really are falling for this piece of GOP bullshit, we need to rush to our phones and keyboards and set them straight, today. Iraq may be terrifyingly like Vietnam in some very critical ways -- but this is one place the analogy does not hold. And the only way the GOP is going to sell that back-stabbing myth again this time is if they manage -- if we allow them -- to stuff some very big facts down the memory hole.

The fact is that this war, from its ill-conceived beginning to its ignominious end, is a 100% pure GOP production. ...

The fact is that they lost the war the day the White House stopped listening to the intelligence agencies, and started listening to the echo chamber in their own empty heads.

They lost the war the day Colin Powell stood up and lied to the world about Saddam's threat.They lost the war, even before it started, every time an administration official got on TV and told the American people vast whoppers about the plans and purposes of the war -- lies that were being told on pretty much a weekly basis throughout 2002 and into 2003, as this Mother Jones website clearly shows.

They lost the war the day they sent Eric Shinseki and his requested 400,000 troops packing, and tore up longstanding Pentagon plans for how to invade, occupy, and rebuild a country.

They lost the war the day they secured the Oil Ministry instead of the streets, public buildings, and national monuments -- and the weapons depots from which the materials for IEDs are still coming.

They lost the war the day Donald Rumsfeld said "Free people are free to commit crimes and make mistakes and do bad things" -- essentially giving carte blanche to a regime of anarchy.

They lost the war, big time, the day they disbanded the Iraqi Army; and the day (right about that same week) that they decreed that the rebuilding jobs would go to overpaid Americans instead of the millions of desperate Iraqis who needed good jobs and intact cities to maintain the cultural, economic, and physical infrastructure of civilization.

They lost the war when they failed to give American troops effective cultural training, including basic language training and sufficient translator support. This resulted in countless Iraqi deaths based on nothing more than miscommunication; and ensured that American soldiers and Iraqis would come to despise each other. It did not have to be this way.

They lost the war when the Republican Congress swallowed its own doubts -- and even the growing fears about its own incumbency -- to continue to ratify this war.

They have lost the war a hundred other ways in the four years since -- because, as I am by no means the first to point out, this was intended from the start to be a generation-long war, which would rage from India to Israel, from Turkey to Tehran. There was never a plan for victory. There was only the plan to create as much chaos as it would take, for as long as it would take, to ensure that in the end the US energy companies would control the taps on the Middle East's oil supply, and thus ensure American control over a rising China for several decades to come.

The only way the "stabbed in the back" myth is going to work this time is if the GOP manages to make everybody forget every little bit of the above history. And Lord knows they’re working overtime to make that happen: it's why they sneer at "blaming Democrats," and insist that we only talk about what's happening now, instead of how we got here. What's done is done. We must look ahead.

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