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Category: US in Iraq
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Republicans remain over the top in their criticism of the Democratic leadership in staging the all-night Senate debate. In truth, we ought to be thanking Harry Reid and his gang that cannot shoot straight.

The Good News:

1. Republicans ought to have their mouths washed out with soap for every time they even intimated that a debate regarding the War in Iraq was a waste of time. We need more all-night sessions in which Americans get a front row seat to a serious conversation about the war and the consequences of failure. The President does not have the ability to take that discussion to the American people. I am happy that Reid does. Regardless of his intentions, which were not honorable, Americans are talking about Iraq again.

2. More importantly, Republicans are talking about Iraq again. A few weeks ago Republicans were sniping at one another. Thanks to Harry Reid we are focused once again on how serious a predicament we are in and aware once again that we only get out of here alive, if we stick together. We could not have asked for a greater gift.

The Bad News:

1. Our latest victory only buys us a few weeks. In truth, we need a long-term Iraq strategy and commitment. Ten years maybe?

2. To do that, we need to take drastic steps to save and rebuild our depleted military. We need to go figure out how to secure peace and stability in Iraq without busting the treasury. We need to take our case to the American electorate and convince them that this action is worthwhile and doable.

3. Those are tall orders.
Category: US in Iraq
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
The Democrats are shameless showboats, demagogues and trimmers.

Having said that, there are serious problems with the Iraq War:

1. We are breaking the bank. We have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on this war. No matter what we do, we will spend hundreds of billions of dollars more on Iraq. A hundred billion here and a hundred billion there and before you know it, it all adds up to real money. We have spent real money on this military engagement, and we will have to pay the piper at some point.

2. We are breaking the army. We have the best army in the history of mankind--but we are stretching our military past reasonable expectations. How much longer can we keep these same fellows in the field? Why have we not moved to reinforce our military? What happens when we finally burn all these guys out?

3. We are breaking the patience of the American people. We are stretching the basic assumption of competence in government that provides social glue for American culture.

Politicians in Washington need to put down their partisan daggers and take up arms and work in concert to save America.
Category: US in Iraq
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
A few weeks ago, I suggested that the Lugar "rupture" might not be a full-blown revolt at all. As I said then, I suspect the hand of [Secretary of Defense] Robert Gates in all this.

Recent reporting has hinted at Gates's inclination toward a revised role for American forces in Iraq, angling toward a reduced US presence in the near term. Read between the lines of this New York Times story here for some of that.

An aside: it is worth keeping in mind that Gates was a member of the Baker-Hamilton Commission.

You may re-read my 25 June summary of Lugar's speech here. As I said then, Lugar's analysis does not ignore the reasons why we are where we are. Moreover, his plan acknowledged that an irresponsible "redeployment" will prove disastrous to us and the world.

But his statement also acknowledged one undeniable, irrefutable, irresistible fact of life: No American President can fight (much less win) a war without the support of the American people. We can argue all day long about whether the people and politicians were right to abandon the President on this war--but those debates are completely irrelevant to the reality that the people have soured on Iraq, and retreat, at this point, is merely a matter of when and how.

My other question from that previous post, however, is actually the most crucial to our future:

If this signals that the President is willing to consider a "thoughtful Plan B," are the Democrats willing to forego political advantage to save the country?