Wednesday, May 09, 2007

And the dominoes continue to fall...

2 Update belows

For years the republican mantra about the Iraq war has been “a few more months.” Such as ‘a few more months is all we need for victory’ or ‘a few more months is all the Iraqi people need to create a working government’ or ‘a few more months is all the Iraqi government needs to be effective.’

Well… it’s beginning to look as though the current “few more months” will be ending this fall.

William F. Buckley, George Will & David Brooks sounded the trumpet last week… then came the LA Times Editorial board…then came House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) this past weekend… then Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR)… then Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) then Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)…

Now it’s Senate republican Whip Trent Lott (R-MS) who is declaring that the war in Iraq is on a short rope within the republican party.

Lott says President Bush's new strategy in Iraq has until September before gop members will need to see results.

Lott’s comment echoed remarks made this past weekend by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH)… which are all signs that republican’s have limited patience on the war.

Said Lott: “I do think this fall we have to see some significant changes on the ground, in Baghdad and other surrounding areas.”

(Welcome to the evident point that was well known to everyone with their own brain months ago Mr. Lott)

However, in true republican flip-flop fashion, Lott declined to say what he thinks should happen if Congress doesn’t see improvement in the situation by then, leaving an opening for him and every other republican to backpedal.

Despite that, it’s clear that Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle are giving “President” Bush a few more months to show that the war has (finally) turned a corner… and it’s also relatively clear that September is beginning to look more and more like that decisive month.

That sucking sound you hear is the wind being taken out of the White House sails by upper-echelon conservatives.

Add to that ever-growing list the fact that Kevin Drum of The Washington Monthly believes that there is a “handful” of more moderate republicans who are also thinking about abandoning Bush… plus, Senate Democrats have compiled a list of other republicans that have been opining similar comments.
Wait a minute… are these some of the same republicans that bashed Harry Reid for what they, at the time, said was an all-to-quick prognosis of failure of the war??? Are they now covering their asses hedging their bets?

My one word answer: Yup.

What’s happening now is that they are not only trying to save face, but they are also trying to avoid another election smackdown at the polls in 2008… and 2009… and 2010… and, well, you get the idea.

So in trying to save face they’ve assigned September as the month in which things have to change by, and the reasoning behind September is primarily because that was the month that Gen. David Petraeus, the commanding general in Iraq, has said he would have a handle on whether the current troop increase surge escalation was having a positive “political progress” impact on the war or not.

(Remember that Bush’s supposedly primary purpose of the escalation was to assuage anxiety in Baghdad so some kind of political progress could occur)

Additionally, fiscal 2008 starts October 1st and (most members of) Congress would like to rein in war spending for the new fiscal year.

Granted, we’ve heard similar things before… but this; this could be the real deal.

In September, Petraeus will deliver his progress report, and many people already seem to know what it will say… that progress is being made on the ground… but political progress is a whole different kettle of fish, especially since, as of right now, there is virtually no positive signs that the political process is getting any better.

And in an effort to head the republicans off at the pass, the Democrats need to outline a definition of “progress” now before the Bush(whacked) Administration has a chance to do it and, as is the custom and trademark of this administration, dumb it down. And in my opinion, “progress” will have to mean the disarming of militias, suppressing a wide swath of sectarian violence, the sharing of oil revenue, and so on… anything less than that will be (more of) a failure.

And one has to think that what we know now and what we expect, failure is what we will be seeing in September.

So it’s all settled in the republican party now, right? September will might will might will might will be the end of the president’s Iraq policy…

Maybe… Stay tuned…

Update 1: Then again... maybe not September. The Pentagon announced late yesterday (Tuesday) that 35,000 soldiers in 10 Army combat brigades will start to deploy to Iraq this August, which would make it possible to sustain the escalation until the end of this year at the least. (Once again, ignoring the will of not only the American people and Democrats but quite a few conservatives, the Bush(whacked) Administration is doing whatever the hell they want… way to be the ‘people’s government’ there guys… or should I say ‘boys’…)

Update 2: More coming out about this as Craig Crawford of thinks this sudden surge of Septemberitis is a rope-a-dope by a handful of republicans;

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., among others in their party, are now settling upon September as a deadline. But the White House might be preparing the way for another “ropa dope” of Congress. Yesterday the Pentagon announced that another 35,000 troops were notified that they are likely to be heading to Iraq by December. That suggests that, come September, the White House will be asking for a reprieve until the end of the year — and possibly beyond.
Stay tuned…

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