Friday, December 08, 2006

Still deluding themselves

Most conservatives I know are still in denial about the 2006 midterm election results. They want to blame their loss on their party’s failure to crack down on domestic spending programs - that tiny part of the federal budget that pales in comparison to the Defense budget and the Entitlement programs. This, of course, is ridiculous.

The election was all about Iraq - Bush’s quagmire - and I think we have only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the electorate’s disgust for this bloody debacle. I will predict right now that no Republican will win the 2008 presidential race, especially if this war drags on for another two years as is likely. And any Democrat who wasn’t sufficiently opposed to the war will have difficulties getting elected - including Hillary Clinton. It’s ironic that Hillary’s decision in 2003 to play it safe and support Bush’s war resolution could turn out to be the biggest albatross around her neck in 2008. Personally, I hope she decides to sit this election out and let Al Gore have another shot at it, but I’m not sure her financial backers would support that decision after pouring so much money into her Senate re-election campaign against token opposition.

The war opponents were right from the beginning. That could not be more clear today as the Iraq Study Group’s report shows. It will probably take us another two to three years to fully extricate ourselves from that mess, and many more American soldiers will die as a result. And in the end we will have little to show for it. There is no “democracy” in Iraq today. The country is divided into warring factions and there is no “good” side for us to back.

On the one hand we have the Sunnis, the once-dominant minority that ruled the country with their authoritarian Baathist Party headed up by Saddam Hussein. On the other side we have the Shiites, the bitter and revengeful, newly-empowered majority led by Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi army militia which is supported by the Iranian mullahs and the militant Hezbollah. The Mahdi Army is said to be more powerful than the fledgling Iraqi Army that we are so desperately trying to prop up long enough for us to skeedaddle. There is no clear distinction between the good guys and the bad guys in this fight. Whenever a bomb goes off you might as well flip a coin to determine who was responsible.

That’s why we’ve got to get out. We are stuck in the middle of a turkey shoot and nobody wants us there. Even long-time war supporters like Republican Sen. Gordon Smith are finally acknowledging this reality.

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