The shocking moment of the evening was John Thune (R-SD) on NPR’s post-mortem, looking as though he’d lost his best friend, beginning his reaction with a motto proud and bold, a ringing, confident endorsement of his chief: “well, we have to try it” …and losing enthusiasm from that point on. Is that the odds Republicans are quoting? And why do we have to try it? Why would any Republican want this new millstone around his neck?
“Hail Mary pass” is the current metaphor, but just to keep it challenging: the quarterback isn’t allowed to raise his arm above his shoulder, the receivers are shooting each other, the defense is blowing them up with IEDs, and the goal line is undefined. Right.
I can’t make sense of the first play, never mind the game plan. Iraqi police and army units are either Shi’a or Sunni. Either the Sunni are going in to Sadr City to kick butt (with Americans embedded), or the Shi’a are (ditto), or we are. In Sadr City, the militia is, approximately, the men between the ages of 15 and 60, and they live in, and shoot from, houses with women and children. If it’s the Sunni regiments, do we imagine that massacre establishes peace and coexistence (no matter who gets massacred)? If it’s the Shi’a regiments, do we imagine them more plausibly killing Mahdi Army grunts, deserting…or fragging the Americans who are urging them on to glory? If it’s us…well, that’s not what Bush said; apparently his fantasy capacity has limits.
There were no surprises in this speech; we’re beyond surprise at the dreamworld irresponsibility of this administration. Two more years of body bags and bodies in bits, the ruin of Gen. Petraeus’ career, endless more billions up in smoke, further breaking of a military that actually has useful work to do, international humiliation. It wasn’t about oil; the oil would have been cheaper to buy than to conquer and we don’t even have it. It wasn’t about WMDs. It wasn’t about Al Qaida. Water under the bridge…but what is it about now?
The best anyone’s been able to do to get behind this travesty is to point with alarm at how awful it will be if we leave now, and to assert that we “have to win”, though David Brooks can’t resist putting in the completely cynical and mendacious idea that the Democrats have some duty to come up with a plan to achieve a victory that has been completely precluded, forever, by the whole Bush program, from concept to execution. There is no making “plans” to stop the sun in the sky, to make bricks without straw, or to turn back time. When this little surge subsides and things are unchanged, it will be at least as awful if we leave then, and we still “have to win”, what then?
The SMU faculty is beginning to grumble, but can anyone explain why they will even start to begin to commence to entertain the possibility of hosting W’s presidential library?