Saturday, May 26, 2007

I Support the Troops and Oppose Bush's Fiasco

I support our troops and oppose Bush's reckless and arrogant war in Iraq. I'm tired of the way Bush's many and various reasons for war fall apart. And I'm tired of the latest mindless drivel from right wing Republicans that if we don't fight them there, they'll come here. That's an old line from emotional and baseless arguments that were used by the John Birchers of the Cold War era. During the Cold War, the John Birchers were considered the lunatic fringe by both Republicans and Democrats. Today's Republicans ought to know better.

Despite the hysterical shrillness of the American right, it is no contradiction to say I support the troops and oppose Bush's war in Iraq, and I'm tired of the deliberate distortion of such a simple and straightforward view. The right wingers even fail to note that an overwhelming majority of Americans, myself included, agreed with the necessity of dealing militarily with Afghanistan. But when did we begin accepting the nonsense of starting a second war, a war we obviously did not need, before finishing a war that needed to be finished in the first place? The bottom line is that George W. Bush must be held accountable by the legal means provided by the US Constitution. It is time.

Let me offer an analogy. Keeping in mind that no analogy is perfect, that their purpose is to illustrate a point rather than playing broad word games (Ah! You're really talking about 9/11! (actually no)), consider a crooked mayor of a major city. The mayor has financial reasons for wanting to replace the current city hall but he can't say that to the voters. He tries this and he tries that and the voters don't buy it and he has to be careful that he doesn't get in trouble with the voters, so he backs off. But he still wants a new city hall—with a his name on it—and plenty of contracts for his cronies.

Like I said, this mayor is not particularly honest and he comes up with the bright idea of moving his office to the Hilton because 'city hall is no longer safe: it is old and decrepit and a fire hazard.' Or so the mayor says. The critics take issue with the mayor; it's a perfectly fine building and maybe the critics concede an improvement or two may be necessary (aha! say the mayor friends, see, see!) but certainly not the complete replacement of city hall. The critics, despite the noise of the mayor's supporters, start making headway and the mayor gets nervous and comes up with another bright idea: he calls in his inner circle and he tells his henchmen to burn down the city hall during a parade when no one's looking too closely: the city will have no choice but to replace the city hall!

Now for all practical purposes, the mayor doesn't actually light the fire but he's the one who owns the box of matches. Anyway, the city hall's on fire and he's satisfied that his plan is moving along. He'll have the voters in his hands in no time. But his henchmen didn't know what they were doing. They made such a mess of burning down city hall, that nearby blocks are now on fire. It's a lot bigger fire than the mayor intended. The firemen, who have nothing to do with the mayor's crooked decision to burn down city hall, are doing their job. But it's such a huge fire that firemen are getting injured. Some are getting killed. And people are finding out that the mayor has been diverting funds for fire equipment and training. But the mayor's behind the firemen and when people start suspecting what a crook the mayor is, he tries to say that his critics don't support the firemen.... Bull.

It's a no brainer that people would support the firemen in such a situation. They're just doing their job and they're putting their lives on the line. But somebody started that fire and if you have your eyes open, it's not that hard to notice that the civilian guy in charge is responsible for the fire, and is a crook.

Bush is a crook. He started a fire in Iraq. The fire is a lot bigger than he ever thought it was going to be. He screwed up royally. Our troops are trying to put out the fire that Bush started and the incompetence and ideological rigidity and the budget cuts of the Bush Administration aren't helping our troops. A crook needs to be held accountable. Some argue that Bush is merely incompetent, and not a crook. But these days, not many Americans buy the argument that we can trust Bush, and they're just now beginning to realize that Bush is a lawbreaker and dishonest—I call him a crook, for short. That assessment has nothing to do with our troops. They're doing their job and putting their lives on the line. For all practical purposes, they've done their job and yet they're still on the line. Prolonging the war doesn't make sense. It's time for the Iraqis to put out their own fire. Yeah, we made a mess and we'll have to help them somewhat and no doubt we'll have no choice but to leave some troops nearby and even our air force and navy will have to keep flying overhead, but the Iraqis themselves have been adding fuel to the fire and now have some responsibility for the fire in Iraq. Keep in mind there are no good solutions to Iraq. That is an indication of how badly Bush and his neocons advisers have mucked things.

Congress doesn't have a lot of tools for making a president accountable for his mistakes, his lies, and his dishonesty once a war we did not need is launched. One of those tools happens to be funding. If you want to stop the killing of our soldiers, you have to stop doing the same thing over and over without purpose. And about the only way to do that is to get the president's attention by cutting off funding. There are plenty of ways to protect our troops as we draw down but funding a war whose purpose has been reduced to putting our troops on patrol so they can get shot at is not exactly good for our troops. Sending our troops on tour after tour is not good for our troops. Failing to train our troops is not good for our troops. It doesn't make sense.

Right wingers who say Democrats don't support the troops don't know what they're talking about. And Bush's continuing refusal to listen to the Iraq Study Group in a timely manner, say six months ago instead of six months from now, is inexcusable. Kicking the can down the road is not an acceptable policy. It would make more sense for Cheney and Bush to resign than allow Bush's war to drift for another 20 months in the hands of these two incompetent crooks who have botched things so badly we're now in the middle of a civil war.

And then there's the issue of that box of matches that Bush and Cheney are still holding. They've still got them. They're still capable of starting another war we don't need. Does any conservative at this late date believe another war will be 'supporting our troops'? Or are they just playing politics? Or both? I'm tired of the charade that Republicans know what they're talking about. We've had six years of Republican domination to find out that their philosophy, for what it is, isn't worth a pile a beans.

I repeat: I support the troops and I oppose Bush's fiasco in Iraq. We don't need more excuses and photo ops from Bush, we need accountability. If we are still a democracy, legal procedures must prevail. It's time for responsible Republicans to join Democrats instead of defending Bush. Congress can cut funding for Bush's war. Congress can continue investigations. Congress can appoint special prosecutors. And if these fail to hold Bush and Cheney accountable, there is always impeachment. But it's time to take care of business so our nation can move forward.

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