Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Quotes du Jour on the War

We expect the House and Senate to meet the needs of our military and the generals leading the troops in battle on time and in full measure. When members speak not of victory but of time limits, deadlines and other arbitrary measures, they are telling the enemy simply to watch the clock and wait us out.

The Democrats’ prospects for actually achieving their goals [on Iraq] are virtually nil, because Bush has already vowed to veto any such legislation, and the Democrats lack the requisite House and Senate votes to override him.
But they already know that. They will push their legislative measures anyway, beginning this week, because they figure that no matter what happens, they will gain the political advantage: If a sufficient number of Republicans were to break with Bush, help override his veto, and hence force a major course correction in Iraq, then the Democrats calculate that they’d be greeted as liberators by the war-weary American majority. . . . But that “Democrats force Bush to change course” scenario isn’t very plausible, at least not this year. So consider this scenario, which is far more likely: If most Republicans stick with Bush and block all opposition efforts to change course in Iraq, and then the war continues to go badly, the majority Democrats calculate that, politically speaking, they will gain the upper hand anyway – because the Republicans, having just demonstrated that once again they were impervious to change, will be forced to compete in the ’08 race with the war as their albatross. If they vote No on all Democratic efforts to try something else, then they will truly “own” this war for the second straight election cycle. There is another scenario, of course: The so-called Surge will turn the tide, the Sunnis and Shiites will dial down the mutual destruction, and the freedom-loving Iraqi citizenry will finally start throwing those flowers we heard so much about back in 2002. . . . But the Democrats, rather than “rooting for defeat,” are simply recognizing empirical reality – that the victory-in-Iraq scenario is at best a long shot, and thus they can only benefit politically if Bush and his stalwart congressional allies continue to defy the wishes of the American majority.

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