Monday, June 19, 2006

Why Bush is winning the war at home


In a new column for TIME, pundit Joe Klein declares that President Bush is “(still) winning the war at home.” By that Klein means that Bush is beating his opponent in the domestic debate about Iraq. Klein’s evidence? Bush called the new Iraqi Defense minister an “interesting cat” and Zarqawi “a dangerous dude.” Also, Klein saw Bush strut.

Klein doesn’t mention that recent polling found just 35 percent of Americans approve of Bush’s handling of the Iraq war, nearly 60 percent support reducing the number of troops and 53 percent support a timetable for withdrawal.

Klein reports that, last week, “Bush and Rove were reminding voters that the choice would be between the Democratic strategy of ‘cut and run’ and the Republican war against Islamic ‘fascists,’ as the President called them.” Klein calls variations of this strategy “scurrilous,” “inaccurate” and “lethally incomplete.”

Then, he uses the same argument. Here’s how Klein describes the options of those who oppose Bush’s strategy in Iraq:

The political option is to embrace “cut and run”; call for an immediate withdrawal, as Kerry did; and hope the public is…sick of Bush and sick of the war…But embracing defeat is a risky political strategy, especially for a party not known for its warrior ethic. In fact, the responsible path is the Democrats’ only politically plausible choice: they will have to give yet another new Iraqi government one last shot to succeed.

This is the same false choice presented by Bush and Rove. Those who want a new direction in Iraq and a timeline for withdrawal are not “embracing defeat.” The way to embrace defeat, as the last three years have demonstrated, is to stick with this administration’s approach.

Opponents of the President’s strategy have laid out a serious alternative strategy for success in Iraq and against terrorist networks worldwide. It deserves to be treated seriously by people like Joe Klein. (For details, read CAP’s plan for success and a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops, Strategic Redeployment 2.0.)

Greg Sargent
and Duncan Black have more.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Murtha on Rove: ‘He’s Sitting in His Air-Conditioned Office on His Big, Fat Backside, Saying Stay the Course’


Karl Rove attacked Rep. John Murtha during a speech last week in New Hampshire. Rove described Murtha’s Iraq plan as “cutting and running,” and suggested that the 37-year Marine combat veteran would “be with you at the first shots” but not “for the last, tough battles.”

Murtha defended himself this morning on Meet the Press:

MURTHA: He’s in New Hampshire. He’s making a political speech. He’s sitting in his air-conditioned office on his big, fat backside, saying stay the course. That’s not a plan. … We’ve got to change direction. You can’t sit there in the air-conditioned office and tell troops carrying 70 pounds on their backs, inside these armored vessels hit with IEDs every day, seeing their friends blown up, their buddies blown up — and he says stay the course? Easy to say that from Washington, DC.

Watch it:

Full transcript below:

ROVE (TAPE): Like too many Democrats, it strikes me they are ready to give the green light to go to war, but when it gets tough and when it gets difficult, they fall back on that party’s old pattern of cutting and running. They may be with you at the first shots, but they are not going to be there for the last, tough battles. They are wrong and profoundly wrong in their approach.

RUSSERT: Cutting and running.

MURTHA: He’s in New Hampshire. He’s making a political speech. He’s sitting in his air-conditioned office on his big, fat backside, saying stay the course. That’s not a plan. I don’t know what his military experience is, but that’s a political statement. This is a policy difference between me and the White House. I disagree completely with what he’s saying.

Now, let’s give you an example. When we went to Beirut, I said to President Reagan, get out. The other day we were doing a debate and they said, Beirut was a different situation, we cut and run. We didn’t cut and run. President Reagan made the decision to change direction because he knew he couldn’t win it. Even in Somalia, President Clinton made the decision, “we have to change direction.” Even with tax cuts, when we had a tax cut, under Reagan we then had an increase.

We need to change directions. We can’t win a war like this. This guy is sitting back there criticizing — political criticism, getting paid by the public taxpayer, and he’s saying to us, “We’re winning this war and they’re running”? We’ve got to change direction. You can’t sit there in the air-conditioned office and tell troops carrying 70 pounds on their backs inside these armored vessels hit with IEDs every day, seeing their friends blown up, their buddies blown up, and he says stay the course? Easy to say that from Washington, DC

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Pentagon Papers published 35 years ago today

TinyRevolution marks the anniversary by highlighting a new op-ed by Vietnam-era whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg, and a flashback of President Bush’s answer when he was asked two weeks before the Iraq invasion, “What can you say tonight, sir, to the sons and the daughters of the Americans who served in Vietnam to assure them that you will not lead this country down a similar path in Iraq?”

EXCLUSIVE: Majority Leader Boehner’s Confidential Strategy Memo For Thursday’s Iraq Debate


On Thursday, the House of Representatives will hold a debate on the Iraq war. Media reports say Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) “hopes to match the serious, dignified tone of deliberation that preceded the Gulf war, in 1991.”

ThinkProgress has obtained a “Confidential Messaging Memo” from Boehner instructing his caucus to conduct a very different kind of deliberation. Here’s a quick summary:

1. Exploit 9/11. The two page memo mentions 9/11 seven times. It describes debating Iraq in the context of 9/11 as “imperative.”

2. Attack opponents ad hominem. The memo describes those who opposes President Bush’s policies in Iraq as “sheepish,” “weak,” and “prone to waver endlessly.”

3. Create a false choice. The memo says the decision is between supporting President Bush’s policies and hoping terrorist threats will “fade away on their own.”

You can read the confidential memo for yourself HERE.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

More Limbore gassbag comments

Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh asserted that “the American left” and “the drive-by media” is happy about allegations of misconduct against civilians by U.S. troops at Haditha. Moreover, they planned on using Haditha to “gang rape” supporters of the war to undermine U.S. efforts in Iraq:

This Haditha story, this Haditha incident, whatever, this is it folks, this is the final big push on behalf of the Democratic Party, the American left, and the Drive-By Media to destroy our effort to win the war in Iraq. That’s what Haditha represents — and they are going about it gleefully. They are ecstatic about it… Folks, let me just put it in graphic terms. It is going to be a gang rape. There is going to be a gang rape by the Democratic Party, the American left and the Drive-By Media, to finally take us out in the war against Iraq. Make no bones about it.

Actually, taking the allegations seriously is essential to our success in creating a secure and democratic Iraq. The Iraqi people need to know the truth, which is that the alleged conduct is not tolerated in the United States military or in American society. It requires a thorough investigation by the United States government, thorough coverage by the United States media, and appropriate outrage by the American public, left, right, and center.

Anything less does a disservice to all the troops in Iraq who have held themselves to highest ethical standards under extreme pressure.

GOP to Bush - Stay Away!


Today, an article by Bloomberg News describes the numerous Republican incumbents up for re-election in November who are looking to have President Bush raise money for their campaigns but are unwilling to appear with the unpopular Commander-in-Chief.

Some key excerpts:

"Republican congressional candidates throughout the U.S. love President George W. Bush's fund-raising prowess. They just don't want to be seen in public with him....

"At the same time, some lawmakers have failed to show up by his side as he raises money in states including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Maryland. Polls show that voters are unhappy with Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, energy prices and budget issues, and Democrats are looking to link Republican candidates to his record....

"'The president's poll numbers aren't good right now,' Chafee, 53, said. And Rhode Island, which backed Democratic presidential candidates Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004 is 'unfriendly territory' for Bush. 'I'm looking elsewhere,' Chafee said.... Senator Mike DeWine, a vulnerable Ohio Republican, didn't attend a speech Bush gave in his home state on the Iraq war in March and missed a health-care speech by the president in February. He did attend a private fundraiser in Ohio with Bush in February. Another is planned, DeWine said.... 'I've run for 30 years, and I've always run on my own,' DeWine said."

Click here to read the full article

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Dear Mr. President


What does it say when President Bush can't answer the questions about the war in Iraq from a 10 year-old girl honestly and directly?

From the Morning Sentinel:

Ten-year-old Emily Shrader was watching television in her father's tractor-trailer at the beginning of a trip from Maine to Florida when she decided to get involved in her nation's foreign policy.

"It (television news) showed how many people were dying in Iraq, so I just started to write," said Shrader, a fourth-grade student in Lauren Taylor's class at Canaan Elementary School.

From Maine to Florida, Shrader, who was on April vacation, wrote, then edited and rewrote her letter to President Bush.

She told President Bush that her father, a long-haul trucker, often comes home on weekends, but if she didn't get to see him for over a month she would be very sad.

Think, she asked him, how he would feel if one of his parents went off to war and never came back.

"You could never even see him or say good-bye. You may never be able to say 'I love you Dad or Mom again,' " wrote Shrader.

Should we be surprised that he is so out-of-touch with the American people and their concerns? Should we be surprised that his answer to a child's dismay at the death and destruction is more of the same tired rhetoric:

"Democracy is on the march in Iraq .... I encourage you to support these service men and women who are willing to sacrifice for a cause greater than self," wrote the president.

Honestly, no, we should not be surprised - not when the Administration is content to ignore the facts, and mislead the public. The President would do well to take his own advice and support the service men and women by answering the question Americans of all ages are asking - What is our plan to succeed in Iraq and at what point can our troops begin to return home?