The Iraq Paradox: Nuance, Electoral Suicide, and 2006
by catastrophile, Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 11:41:37 PM EDT
Chris expresses frustration that Swamp Dems just don't get "what a tremendous winning issue Iraq withdrawal is for them." But he's already put his finger right on the problem, in a previous post on the subject of polling:
By only ever portraying the only withdrawal position as "bring all the troops home now," polling firms have ignored the popular, progressive middle ground that is emerging in this country.I submit that there's a very good reason why that's the position being polled: Because that is the position that will be assigned to anybody who doesn't support the Reep "strategy" of indefinite war.
What's the responsible course in Iraq? Get some fair-handed security forces trained that can keep the peace and preserve the integrity of the government there, then get out of the way so that they can figure out what they're doing.
What does the Bush administration claim it's doing? Exactly that.
Would it be responsible to pull out of Iraq without getting the situation reasonably stabilized first? Hell no.
What will the Reeps accuse anybody who says the word 'withdrawal' of advocating? Exactly that.
It's already started, for Pete's sake; Murtha suggested simply withdrawing ground troops to a respectful distance and backing Iraqi forces with air support. "CUT AND RUN!" the Reeps cried, and they're keeping the chant going from now until November. It doesn't matter how rational, reasonable, and practical an alternative solution is. It doesn't matter if you call it withdrawal, redeployment, Iraqification, or doubleplusgood superhappyvictoryplan, it will be met with the same response. That has already been made abundantly clear. And to Hell with the details. Details put people to sleep.
We've been watching the Reeps operate for long enough to know how their electoral strategy works these days. Three stages:
- Misrepresent Reep policy so it sounds completely reasonable;
- Misrepresent Dem policy so it sounds completely unreasonable; and
- Let the people decide which policy sounds better.
With that said, here's the paradox.
The most responsible course in Iraq is the one the administration claims it's pursuing: Try to maintain peace while the government gets its $#!+ together, train Iraqi security forces to maintain order and defend the country from foreign aggression, and let the progress of those two processes determine the pace of our withdrawal.
The problem is, it's just not happening. There are, in my mind, two possible explanations for this failure:
- The first possibility is that the occupation and reconstruction have simply been so terribly mismanaged that those responsible should be committed to a mental institution for observation.
- The second is that the unchecked greed of this administration has given rise to a crime wave of historic proportions, with untold $billions in American and Iraqi treasure vanished into the pockets of contractors, swindlers, and Lord-only-knows who else, and our troops have been stuck with the bill -- paid in blood.
Okay. There's a point in here somewhere. Oh, right, the paradox:
How do the Dems advocate a responsible course of action in Iraq when it's the course the Reeps already claim they're following?
How do the Dems say the administration's strategy isn't what the administration claims it is without calling them liars?
How do the Dems call out the administration without being accused of 'supporting the terrorists'?
How do the Dems convey the notion that the US presence on the ground as presently constituted is making things less stable, not more so, without being accused of 'attacking the troops'?
What should be obvious by now is that the "mismanagement" story isn't going to work. The Dems have been trying to draw the public's attention to the profiteering, the corruption, the shady characters, the abuse of our troops, all of this for years now, and it just doesn't stick. It's too dry, too involved, simply too dull to persuade anybody of anything. Contract after scandalous contract, every manner of theft, fraud, waste, and outright vanishing, and it all just rolls off. If the general public understood even half of the military scandals that have led back to the White House and appointed Pentagon leadership since 2003, Gee-Dub's approval rating would be in the negatives.
And now we're going to ask the people that can't get the public angry about anything else that's happened in the last five years to explain the meaningful distinction between withdrawal and retreat, in ten-second sound bytes, while the Reeps stand by yelling "CUT AND RUN! CUT AND RUN! CUT AND RUN!" at the top of their lungs. (Talk about nuance.)
How do the Dems run on "we're going to do what they're doing, but for real"?
Somebody please explain this to me.