As of this moment, Harry Reid’s all-night-and-into-the-morning Senate debate on the Levin amendment, calling for troop withdrawals to begin in 120 days, is still going on. The indications are that a determined Republican minority will block the amendment’s passage. However, the morning newspapers and NPR are ecstatic: the “fighting Dems” are back.
Leave aside whether what the Democratic leadership wants is more to embarrass Republicans than to change the course of Bush’s War. No doubt, they want both. The important question, largely ignored by the punditocracy, is just what this “historic” debate is about? The short answer is: not much.
The Democratic side wants four more months of murder and mayhem followed by slow but enforced “Vietnamization,” the Nixon-Kissinger strategy for “ending” the Vietnam War by replacing American troops with local surrogates. They also want “redeployment” of American troops to comparatively safe areas in Iraq or nearby. In other words, their objective is to maintain the occupation by doing what their former taskmaster, the now comatose Ariel Sharon, did to Gaza, when it became clear to him that the costs of a direct occupation were too high. What a model to follow!
The Republicans, on the other hand, want to delay a decision on essentially the same plan for two more months, while they figure out how they can start the process of Vietnamization without losing too much face. [For them, it’s a question of party loyalty; in other words, of their own electoral prospects. Never mind that Bush and Cheney will lose face no matter what; they no longer have any face to lose.] Be sure that, once they figure out what to do next, the hapless General Petraeus will play a role in the Republicans’ plans – as a fall guy, as an excuse for extending the killing even longer, or both. Conceding that the party duopoly under which we suffer is not about to change soon, these are not insignificant differences. The world would be a better place were the Republicans to be handed a sound defeat. But the “fighting Dems” are way, way short of the mark.
Harry, Nancy – who do you think you’re fooling? If you really want to end the war, end it now in the only way you can – defund it. If you really want to “support the troops,” support them now in the only way you can – bring them home; all of them. It’s not that complicated -- unless, of course, your real objective is, like Cheney’s and Bush’s and their neo-con advisors’, to maintain American dominance of the Middle East and, not incidentally, to assure that Big Oil and Israel have their way. Maybe you can’t break with that dream without jeopardizing your relations with your paymasters. But you can at least correct Bush’s tactical mistakes in implementing it. In so doing, you will earn the title of “lesser evil,” not just get it by default. Everyone knows that, like most Democrats, you suffer from a handicap – you were born without backbones. But Harry, Nancy -- you don’t need backbones for this; you have political cover. The Cheney/Bush administration is toast; their war is lost. The vast majority of Americans understand this. The “liberal” media may like their “fighting Dems,” but everyone with a shred of sense wants you to stop posturing, get some sleep, come back refreshed – and do the right thing. Stop the war NOW; bring ALL the troops home!
UPDATE: As predicted, the Levin amendment failed. With 70% or more of the electorate behind them, and with both the House and Senate in their control, the Democrats cannot stop Bush! Would even an outright dictator be able to wage war under such conditions? Or is this the prerogative only of "democratic" leaders -- like Tony ("Glad to See the Back of Him") Blair and George W. Bush? What an argument for "democracy" and "the American way"!