I showed Brian Williams and his comments after visiting Iraq, then a clip from ABC News and yesterday I almost fell over when the LA Times, of all things, asking if we really need a General Pelosi.
Today Wapo issues a scathing editorial on "The Pelosi Plan for Iraq".
In short, the Democratic proposal to be taken up this week is an attempt to impose detailed management on a war without regard for the war itself. Will Iraq collapse into unrestrained civil conflict with "massive civilian casualties," as the U.S. intelligence community predicts in the event of a rapid withdrawal? Will al-Qaeda establish a powerful new base for launching attacks on the United States and its allies? Will there be a regional war that sucks in Iraqi neighbors such as Saudi Arabia or Turkey? The House legislation is indifferent: Whether or not any of those events happened, U.S. forces would be gone.
The House bill lists benchmarks for Iraqi political progress and requires that President Bush certify by July 1 that progress is being made toward them. By October, Bush would have to certify that the benchmarks all had been reached. This is something of a trick, akin to the inflexible troop readiness requirements that Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) wanted to impose to "stop the surge." Everyone knows that the long list of requirements -- including constitutional changes, local elections and the completion of complex legislation -- couldn't be finished in six months. In that case a troop withdrawal would have to begin immediately. If there was no "progress" by July, it would have to begin then and be completed by the end of the year.
Congress should rigorously monitor the Iraqi government's progress on those benchmarks. By Mr. Bush's own account the purpose of the troop surge in Iraq is to enable political progress. If progress does not occur, the military strategy should be reconsidered. But aggressive oversight is quite different from mandating military steps according to an inflexible timetable conforming to the need to capture votes in Congress or at the 2008 polls. Ms. Pelosi's strategy leads not toward a responsible withdrawal from Iraq but to a constitutional power struggle with Mr. Bush, who has already said he will veto the legislation. Such a struggle would serve the interests of neither the Democrats nor the country.
USA Today also brings us good news from Iraq.
Coalition forces have detained about 700 members of the Mahdi Army, the largest Shiite militia in Baghdad, the top U.S. commander in Iraq said Monday.Even Ted Koppel has spoken about what failure would look like should we leave Iraq before it is stabilized (Hat Tip Hot Air, video over there too)
The militia, which is loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and has clashed with U.S. troops in the past, has mostly avoided a direct confrontation with American and Iraqi government forces, Gen. David Petraeus said in an interview with USA TODAY.
Some of the militia's top leaders have left the capital, and Iraqi government officials are negotiating with al-Sadr's political organization in an effort to disband the militia, Petraeus said.
"I think in part one reason that al-Sadr's militia has been lying low … is due to some of the discussions being held," Petraeus said in a telephone interview from Iraq. "It's also in part due to some of the leaders leaving Baghdad" and others being arrested, he said.
U.S. and allied troops have arrested top-ranking and rank-and-file militia members during operations over the past several months, Petraeus said. Coalition forces are engaged in a major plan, devised in part by Petraeus, to limit sectarian and insurgent violence in Baghdad.
Koppel: I made a little note here of something that Ambassador Khalilzad said to you a moment ago. He said, “The region will not be stable until Iraq is stabilized.” It’s the one thing nobody talks about. Everyone is concerned about the United States being in the middle of a civil war inside Iraq. But they forget about the fact that if U.S. troops were to pull out of Iraq, that civil war could become a regional war between Sunnis and Shia. And the region, just in case anyone has forgotten, is the Persian Gulf, where we get most of our oil, and, I’ve talked about this before, natural gas. So, the idea of pulling out of there and letting the region, letting the national civil war expand into a regional civil war, something the United States cannot allow to happen.We are also seeing something extraordinary from a few democratic politicians that are stating publicly that they will not support any Murtha "slow bleed" or Pelosi "time line" type plans, the latest one being quoted being Rep. Dan Boran D-Okla, who has just returned from Iraq.
Koppel: If you look back at the elements of the war against terrorism, that war was going on, and has been going on for the past 24 years. We just didn’t connect the dots. 24 years ago, the precursors of Hezbollah blew up the U.S. marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. That was 1983, 241 Americans killed. In the interim between then and now you had two attacks on the World Trade Center, you had the blowing up of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, you had the attempt to blow up the U.S.S. Cole, you had the bombing of the two U.S. embassies in East Africa. This war’s already been going on for 24 years; we were just a little bit slow to recognize it.
But Democrats have struggled to find a compromise that can satisfy both liberals who oppose any funding for the military effort and conservatives who do not want to unduly restrict the commander in chief.
"This supplemental should be about supporting the troops and providing what they need," said Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla., on Monday upon returning from a trip to Iraq. Boren said he plans to oppose any legislation setting a clear deadline for troops to leave.
David Obey (Democrat) being caught on camera yelling about "Idiot Liberals" and Dennis Kucinich (Democrat) taking the Democratic party to task for being scared to debate on Fox News.
We spoke at length about the differences in the yellow dog dems and the blue dog dems the other day and it seems Boren is the latest that understands that whether you like Cheney or not, he is right when he says that "When members speak not of victory but of time limits, deadlines and other arbitrary measures, they are telling the enemy simply to watch the clock and wait us out."
Cheney's full remarks here.
Captain's Quarters money quote:
Do the Democrats have a plan if this catastrophe comes to pass? Viet Nam may have had strategic significance only in a Cold War world, but the Middle East has tremendous economic and political significance for the US. If Iraq collapses and starts a regional war between Sunnis and Shi'ites, oil shipments will likely stop and millions of people in Southwest Asia could get killed. Egypt and Saudi Arabia have already stated that they will likely enter Iraq to protect the Sunnis if we withdraw, which would bring Iran in to protect the Shi'ites, with Syria joining as Iran's military ally.
The Democrats have no answer for this scenario. Their plans extend no farther than appeasing their political base while attempting to dodge responsibility for their actions. Pelosi and Murtha haven't dared to simply cut off the funding for the war, because they know they will lose the Blue Dog Democrats and their majority if they try.
The Republican politicians have made it clear that they will stand united against any attempt by Democrats to undermine the ability of General Petraeus and our troops to achieve victory in the Global War on Terror, and it looks like a few Democrats will be standing united with the Republicans on this issue, at least.
Bipartisanship huh? Not exactly the way Pelosi envisioned it when she spewed off at the muzzle about it before the elections.
She HAS managed to get some Democrats and Republicans on the same side of this issue, it just isn't the side she wants them on.
All of this also brought about the baktracking of all the hoopla about hamstringing the president on the Iranian issue.....seems the Dems aren't all on board with that either.
Top House Democrats retreated Monday from an attempt to limit President Bush's authority for taking military action against Iran as the leadership concentrated on a looming confrontation with the White House over the Iraq war.
Conservative Democrats as well as lawmakers concerned about the possible impact on Israel had argued for the change in strategy.
The Iran-related proposal stemmed from a desire to make sure Bush did not launch an attack without going to Congress for approval, but drew opposition from numerous members of the rank and file in a series of closed-door sessions last week.
Rep. Shelley Berkley (news, bio, voting record), D-Nev., said in an interview there is widespread fear in Israel about Iran, which is believed to be seeking nuclear weapons and has expressed unremitting hostility about the Jewish state.
"It would take away perhaps the most important negotiating tool that the U.S. has when it comes to Iran," she said of the now-abandoned provision.
"I didn't think it was a very wise idea to take things off the table if you're trying to get people to modify their behavior and normalize it in a civilized way," said Rep. Gary Ackerman of New York.
Several officials said there was widespread opposition to the proposal at a closed-door meeting last week of conservative and moderate Democrats, who said they feared tying the hands of the administration when dealing with an unpredictable and potentially hostile regime in Tehran.
I am beginning to feel like I just woke up in the Twilight Zone... liberal media outlets doing complete 180's and baring their teeth at the Democrats, Moderate Dems standing side by side with Republicans, the mainstream media reporting the good as well as the bad news coming out of Iraq and people finally starting to discuss the real issue, the consequences of failure.....what next?
Maybe there really is an Easter bunny or tooth fairy and maybe Santa will come down the chimney next year...it is all just so bizarre.
Bizarre but welcome.