The Democrats in Congress have lost much of the leadership edge they carried out of the 2006 midterm election, with the lack of progress in Iraq being the leading cause. Their only solace: President Bush and the Republicans aren't doing any better.
Lucky for the Dems is the fact that the Republicans have not been able to capitalize on this skid. Nowhere is there a bright shining moment for either party, because both parties are content to keep the status quo. Both want business as usual and neither thinks there is any good reason to change their approach. Both are an embarrassment to the people they represent, in my opinion.
The Dems promised they would end corruption, they haven't. They promised they would work longer weeks, they haven't. They promised to restore the people's confidence in the system, and they haven't.
The Dems promised the American people that they would end the war. This was a promise that they knew they could not keep, once the election was over and the numbers were known. Despite knowing they didn't have the numbers to override any Presidential veto, they made a charade out of the process by trying to dictate terms to the President. These were terms that they knew they didn't have the authority to implement, yet they wasted valuable time and money trying, anyway.
Those that voted for Democrats because they wanted the war to end, are just now realizing, they were used. They are not happy because they feel like their cause was used as a cornerstone of their platform to gain power; once they gained that power, they felt forgotten and left out in the cold.
But in all fairness to the Democrats, some of the expectations of the anti-war crowd have been very unrealistic. The notion that you would just be able to pull the rug out from under the war (by cutting off funding), is naive. As Rep. David Obey told both the Marine mom that hassled him awhile back and the anti-war questioner that tried to blindside him at a news conference, there is no magic wand. Yet they persist in expecting to see one produced, at the snap of a finger. They do not have a mandate, they cannot override a veto, hence they cannot dictate terms to the Executive Branch.
Now, I am not criticizing the anti-war crowd here, for their opposition to the war. Many simply believe in a most sincere manner that war is wrong. For them, it's a matter of principle and a moral issue that they just cannot compromise. If that is the case for a given individual, I can respect that despite the fact that I do not agree with them. What I cannot respect is the fact that many that scream the loudest about pulling out now, are the ones that voted to send us there in the first place. (SEE: My recent post, Haste Makes Waste)
With that said, allow me to point out something else interesting found in the ABC article, I linked to:
There are real concerns about what lies ahead for Iraq and the United States alike. If the United States withdraws without civil order first being restored, seven in 10 Americans see any of three possibilities as at least somewhat likely: Full-scale civil war, parts of Iraq becoming a base of operations for terrorists targeting the United States and parts of Iraq falling under Iranian control.
For all of the wishing and hoping that we would just end this war and walk away, this is (at very least) in the back of a lot of people's minds right now. As I pointed out in the Haste Makes Waste post, we are currently seeing an outcome of unintended consequences in Iraq.
We did not adequately plan for the fall of Saddam and the power vacuum that was certain to follow. We completely disbanded the Iraqi military forces, without thought to the resentment it would create within the ranks of those ousted troops, and the will they would muster up in resisting our presence.
We counted on the Iraqi people to welcome us with open arms after the tyrant was deposed and many did. But what we did not count on was the fact that Saddam (in his craftiness) built an elite structure faithful to him, albeit at the expense of two-thirds of the nation. That one-third has been the source of much of the resistance that still exists today. (The other portions are comprised of foreign fighters and Shiites that are getting their support from Iran.)
By miscalculating in these areas, we have been charged with the almost impossible task of raising a new military and police force that is loyal, to the concept of a free and democratic Iraq and not a brutal dicatator. In short, this is nowhere near where it needs to be, in order to be in a position to pull back. For this and the other miscalculations I have mentioned, the accountability and the responsibility lies completely at the feet of the Administration. They cannot push the blame on anyone else, at this point.
But the real miscalculation has been in the area of strategy. We have tried to fight a politically correct war and frankly, there is no such thing. We saw the insertion of politics in Vietnam and we know that outcome was certainly less than favorable, even when putting it in a good light. The Dems that voted for this war and now condemn it are guilty of giving encouragement to those, who want this to become that.
So, if you wonder why the Dems are losing the battle of popularity and wondering why the GOP will not gain any ground from it, look no further than the conduct of all of our elected officials that supported this war from the beginning. I blame those that voted for it and now are playing politics with it, for the specific purpose of empowering themselves. And I blame those that put together a poorly planned operation and did not take into account the potential problems that have been created, by the decision to implement this action.
I have two hands. One points to the Dems that have played their silly political games and one that points to the GOP that failed to put together an effective post-Saddam strategy. The only problem with this is, we are in a two-party system that is so entrenched in our government that to get mad at one and vote for the other, is a vote for incompetence either way. I truly wish there was an entry on my ballot that said none of the above. Because is I had my way about it, I'd fire the entire damned bunch. Neither party is worth anything right now, neither has a leader that will deliver.
Note-I will be very busy and away from the computer much of the day. Here are some things to consider (that pertain the subject of this post), if you are interested:
1. Victor Davis Hanson has some things stated much more eloquently than I can, check his latest essay out.
2. If we do not watch out, there may be some trouble brewing between Turkey and the Kurds that live in Northern Iraq that may throw another unintended consequence into the mix. Take a look at this piece from Peter Brookes of the NY Post.
3. Here is another piece from Dan Senor of the WSJ, on whether immediate withdrawal is a reasonable option or not.