Sunday, May 6, 2007

High Broderism

If David Broder was an amusement park attraction, you would have to be “This Tall” to ride, because he spins furiously.

The gap between public opinion and Washington reality has rarely been wider than on the issue of the Iraq war... (Blogger interjects: Why does Washington get the "reality"? - oh yeah...Broder is the ultimate inside the beltway, out of touch with the real reality pundit.)

Oh the hand-wringing humanity!

...But it is not what will happen -- at least now. The failure of the House last week to override President Bush's veto of an Iraq spending bill that included a timetable for withdrawal made that certain. The Democratic leadership already has signaled its readiness to drop the timetable, and further concessions are likely as negotiations continue with the White House.

The question that naturally arises is why the strongly expressed judgment of the people -- responding to news of increasing American casualties in a seemingly intractable sectarian conflict -- cannot be translated into action in Washington.

Part of the answer lies in the Constitution. It makes the president commander in chief of the armed forces, the only elected official whose orders every general and every private must obey. (Blogger interjects: Even a Commander in Chief can not issue an illegal order. Broder knows this. Or he should.)

Congress shares war-making power under the Constitution but can exercise it only through its control of the money the president needs to finance any military operation.

“Failed to override?” Okay – that’s spin. It was a given going in. The failure to override is not cause for consternation and defeatism and pissing and moaning directed at the Democrats. It is the parliamentary process at work. Broder knows this, too. But Broder is a shill. I think the eulogies for the Democrat’s new-found spine are premature. We the People have infused and fortified their backbones..

…Come September, when Gen. David Petraeus, the commander in Iraq, says that he will be able to judge whether the new tactics and the nearly 30,000 additional troops have turned the tide in the effort to reduce the carnage in Baghdad, different political forces will prevail.

If he is successful and if the Iraqis begin to make the political accommodations needed to form a stable government, the president will be in a far better position to rally domestic support for the cause…

There is not now, nor will there be, any rally of support, and everyone knows it. The reasons for the war are not going to suddenly become just and noble. The reason will remain lies, perfidy and mendacity.

Additionally, the death toll among Americans is climbing. Thirty last week, and twelve yesterday. The numbers can only go one way, and every tick upward ticks support downward.

If Petraeus comes back in September and that number is 4000 – all bets are off. A thousand dead kids in eight months is not something this country will abide. In fact, we had an election about just that back in November.

One way or another, public opinion ultimately will be heeded on the war in Iraq. It is hard to imagine the Republicans going into the presidential election of 2008 with 150,000 American troops still taking heavy casualties in Iraq.

But if that should be the case, the likelihood would be that the Democrats would soon take over the White House -- and their president would be the one to end the war.

Wars do end when the American people say they must. Dwight Eisenhower was elected president in 1952 with a promise to end the Korean War. Richard Nixon was elected president in 1968 with a promise to end the Vietnam War. And if George Bush doesn't do it, a Democrat will win in 2008 with a promise to end the war in Iraq.

Why does that piss me off so much? What is it about those words that sets my teeth on edge? Is it just me, or did a shift of responsibility from the Resident to the people just get floated? The tone just seems so…blasé. “Oh, it’'ll stop when the riff-raff get around to stopping it." Yeah, we’ll stop it, but that doesn’t absolve anyone’s responsibility in a criminal war.

The next 650 kids who will die while you “give it to September” are more than political pawns, more than commas, to me. I quite frankly find the entire tone of this piece of High Broderism rep-re-fucking-hensible.

I live in the shadow of the National Headquarters of the VFW…Literally. As the sun sets at certain times of year, the building casts a shadow into my apartment. Lately, the shadow has been falling about the time that the NewsHour presents the dead, in silence. That is kind of creepy. But it is poignant. And it makes me think…I want this to be the last group of veterans that ever qualifies for membership. And in a hundred years, when we are all gone, and the VFW has completed its mission, make the building a center for Peace and Diplomacy studies.

I know that it is not likely to happen, but that is what I wish for as the shadow falls in my window and the dead appear silently on the screen.

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