The First Fight: Funding the Escalation

David Sirota points me to this Arianna Huffington exclusive:

"Money is the only way we can stop it for sure." To this end, Murtha, the incoming Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, is planning to hold wide-ranging hearings, starting January 17th, that will focus on the depleted state of our military readiness , as well as contractor corruption in Iraq and Afghanistan. The goal is to turn the spotlight on how drained the military has become, and on how any talk of a troop surge is utterly irresponsible (as well as strategically misguided). "The public," he said repeatedly, "is already ahead of us on all this. He says he wants to "fence the funding," denying the president the resources to escalate the war, instead using the money to take care of the soldiers as we bring them home from Iraq "as soon as we can."

There are going to be plenty of fights happening over the next few years, which is why I'm not worried about bipartisan nonsense - there's just no common ground between, say, escalation and withdrawal.  I've talked to a few new Congressmen today, and all of them are clearly against the war in Iraq.  This Murtha move is new, and they hadn't heard about it yet.  It changes the debate around the supplemental budget, which is really the debate about the war and what we should be doing.

This is good.  People were ready to give Bush one last blank check, but the escalation has allowed progressives the opportunity to push back.  Bush overreached and is out of control, and it looks like the Democrats might stand up to him on the funding piece.  That's the last taboo for Congress, and it's one that should have dissipated long ago.

There's more...

It's an ESCALATION, Not a "Surge"

This is right on. The Republicans and Big Media have successfully bamboozzled the Democratic leadership in DC into seemingly going along with this escalation of troops. It's a direct contradiction of the '06 mandate given to the Democrats to stop Bush and get out of Iraq. It is the Democrats that will bear the costs at the polls, if they allow an escalation to happen. Bush and Rove know that, whereas the Democrats, once again, seem like they just wish the war would go away. Jerome

If there's one thing we've learned about Karl Rove's MO it's that his job number one is to start by figuring out the poll-tested term that has the best chance of selling Bush's policies to the public and then job number two is making sure that that term is the one everyone in the media uses. Prominent examples include "social security reform" and "personal accounts" instead of "social security privatization" and "private accounts;""sectarian violence" instead of "civil war;""healthy forests" instead of "clear cuts;" you get the idea.

So I don't mean to chide anyone in particular for using the term "surge," since everyone else is doing it too. But why on earth is everyone calling it a "surge" when in any other combat situation in history the same shift on the ground would be called an "escalation?"

For examples of progressive blogs using the term, and a few closing thoughts, there's more below:

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