There are ways to leave Iraq and avoid disaster. And then, there’s rank stupidity:
President Bush vetoed the Iraq-war spending bill this evening, calling it a blueprint for failure and defeat and intensifying a showdown with the Democratic-controlled Congress.
â€œIt makes no sense to tell the enemy when you plan to start withdrawing,â€ Mr. Bush said at the White House, where he vetoed the bill after the signatures of Democratic legislative leaders were barely dry.
The president said the bill would demoralize the Iraqis and send them and the world a terrible message: â€œAmerica will not keep its commitments.â€
The President may be in for a rather rude surprise when it comes to what exactly would constitute keeping our “commitments” in Iraq. Perhaps he should be jawboning the Iraqi government into keeping their commitments to us – i.e., this is round one in a ten round bout and while he holds the upper hand today, upon each successive revisiting of this issue, it will become more and more apparent that the Iraqi government has no intention of keeping their promises made to him and to the United States to achieve much of anything in the way of reconciling their war torn and riven country.
What this will do to his “veto-proof” GOP firewall is uncertain. Judging by the nervousness of many Republican lawmakers who wish to see at least some political benchmarks laid out for the Iraqi government to achieve as part of the funding bill, my guess is that unless their is a sea change in the attitude of the Iraqi government, GOP desertions will become significant after the first of the year.
Good to see the Iraqi Parliament taking our efforts to tamp down the violence so seriously; they’re going on vacation for two months in July and August. And Prime Minister Maliki is proving himself quite the reliable ally – at least for Mookie al-Sadr and his band of cutthroats. He’s cashiered a few generals who actually took him at his word when he said he wanted to rein in the Shia militias who are causing a lot of the sectarian bloodshed.
Maliki is a practiced liar – and an empty suit of a Prime Minister as well. He and his Shia brethren in his ruling coalition can read the writing on the wall as well as anyone in this country; that the closer we get to the 2008 election, the better the chances that any veto of the Democrat’s invitation to al Qaeda to initiate a bloodbath in Iraq will be overridden with the help of an increasing number of Republican legislators who see the War as a political millstone around the party’s neck not to mention a sure fire roadmap to the unemployment line for them. (The latter reason uppermost in their greedy little minds, I’m sure.)
At the risk of incurring the wrath of my dwindling number of readers, might I suggest that the President face this reality and sit down with the Democrats in order to come to some kind of an agreement about the future of our mission in Iraq? It may be old fashioned in this day and age to talk about “the good of the country” but that’s just me, I guess – A fat old codger who can remember when lawmakers took the political adage “Politics stops at the waters edge” seriously. Of course, I’m also old enough to remember when that compact between the parties was shattered. The political ghosts of Viet Nam still haunt this country and unless we can find our way back to a sensible, rational means for the two branches to co-exist and come together on the goals and troop requirements needed for this war, I fear that the disaster that is staring us in the face will almost certainly come about much to the detriment of our interests in the Middle East and our efforts in the War on Terror (or whatever we’re going to be calling it once the Democrats admit we need to fight one).
Even a successful surge – and it is showing signs of success in important ways – will fail to bring about the desired political results that would give us the victory all of us want but is looking more and more impossible to achieve. The recalcitrant Iraqi government seems perfectly content to expend American lives to increase their own legitimacy with the Iraqi people as the violence begins to subside while not doing what is necessary to validate our men’s sacrifices by bringing the warring factions together in order to form a viable state.
So the President’s veto of this bill will not be overridden. And the two sides will sit down and probably come to a compromise agreement that will fund the troops for a very limited time – perhaps 3 months if reports are accurate – with the Democrats abandoning their formal invitation to our enemies setting a date certain for the al-Qaeda/militia bloodbath to begin in earnest. Instead, the withdrawal timetable will be advisory only, thus encouraging our jihadi friends to simply watch, wait, and keep their powder dry and their swords sharpened.
Needless to say, we can’t go on like this. But we will. And when the dust settles from this political row, we can look forward to another Congressional food fight to break out when we revisit the issue in the fall.