Monday, April 03, 2006

No more bleating around the Bush

Kevin Drum takes the Instapundit to task for his nebulous policy prescription:
Glenn Reynolds suggests today that George Bush's difficulties are not so much with the people who were fair weather supporters of the war from the start, but rather with the people who were its most fervent fans:

Bush's problem on the war is that he's losing the Jacksonian base, which is no longer confident that he's willing to do whatever it takes to win, regardless of foreign or public opinion.

Like most slogan-driven hawks, however, he doesn't follow this up with a definition of what he means by "whatever it takes." It's just left hanging.


So: what's the plan, hawks? "Whatever it takes" is just cheap talk. Are you suggesting higher taxes to fund a dramatic increase in military end strength? A draft? A ground invasion of Iran? A permanent military occupation of the entire Middle East?

See that's the problem with defining yourself as a libertarian, anybody can make that fucking argument and it takes no amount of effort to dissuade someone from associating all of their policies under the banner of liberty, especially as they grasp ever onward toward 'original intent' theories of law. Consider his policy prescription for US forces in Iraq 2006: 'Win'. No, Reynolds is a populist with a great enthuasism and talent for synthesis of the ideas of others who adopts an insincere mournful tone against his opponents to cloak his partisanship. And 'Original intent', what crypto-patriarchical bullshit: as if our current traditional legal interpretations needed the revisionist idea of speculative interpolations of everyone who signed the document, when it was composed by men everyone can acknowledge were exceptionally progressive thinkers during their day.
One of the commenters provides an bracingly honest political analysis of the Iraq War as of April 2006:
It's all about U.S. domestic politics now. All those with working brain cells on either side of the aisle know this thing is lost. They also know that the extremely toxic blame for the failure will come down on the head of whoever orders the withdrawal. If Kerry had got in in 2004 and then withdrawn the troops, the R's would be drawing up articles of impeachment for it and would be using it as their main midterm issue for congressional races.

Bush too thick to realize what needs to be done and Cheney et al are too crazy, and in any case the rest of the R's know a humiliating defeat would give the Dems a hammerlock on the executive and the legislative branches for a good long time to come. So they are hoping they can get the Dems to do the right thing so they can attack them for having done it (pretty standard GOP MO these days.)

The Dems for their part won't stick their heads into a guillotine for the R's (which is what a large-scale Dem call for withdrawal would amount to.) So they are just watching Bush and his party slowly have their credibility be chewed up as things in Iraq go from worse to much worse.

The Dems are betting there will either be a catastrophic end to the occupation before 2008 (not inconceivable) or that the R's will have sustained so much damage by then that President Hillary (or whover it ends up being) will be able to do the withdrawal despite the screaming and blaming this will give rise to from the wingnut amen corner. (Good luck.)

Bush's plan is to hope things can kind of hold together for the next couple of years so he can dump this whole thing on his successor. The rest of the R's don't really have a plan other than not seeing their bacon fried in the next 20 minutes, and since Dems don't seem to be rising to the bait and calling for withdrawal, they'll just keep pretending it's not as bad a fiasco as it is and that President Steely Resolve has matters in hand.

Part of the reason Murtha came forward is that this idiotic political gridlock is killing soldiers, basically for nothing. Still, nothing seems able to break the dynamic. Interesting times we live in indeed.

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