Friday, July 20, 2007

Well, it is the summer rerun season

[Cross-posted from Watching Those We Chose]

“Wait for September” is the new mantra. It pleadingly falls from the lips of every supporter of continuing the occupation of Iraq; from the fervent true-believers to the craven, profit-driven enablers. “Wait for September. Wait for General Petraeus’ report.” issues forth from many a fetid maw.

Call me cynical, but I know what his report is going to say. What did John McCain say the other day? “I’ve seen this movie before.”?

Well, I have read the Op-Ed before. Six weeks before the 2004 elections, in the Washington Post, to be exact.

I see tangible progress. Iraqi security elements are being rebuilt from the ground up.

The institutions that oversee them are being reestablished from the top down. And Iraqi leaders are stepping forward, leading their country and their security forces courageously in the face of an enemy that has shown a willingness to do anything to disrupt the establishment of the new Iraq.

In recent months, I have observed thousands of Iraqis in training and then watched as they have conducted numerous operations. Although there have been reverses -- not to mention horrific terrorist attacks -- there has been progress in the effort to enable Iraqis to shoulder more of the load for their own security, something they are keen to do. The future undoubtedly will be full of difficulties, especially in places such as Fallujah. We must expect setbacks and recognize that not every soldier or policeman we help train will be equal to the challenges ahead.

Hell, he will even re-predict that "the next 60 days will be crucial." That groundwork was laid a couple of days ago when they floated the "November before we see real results" trial balloon. Just like he did before. On May 17th the Politico reported that he was saying then that there would be "nothing Definitive" by September.

Within the next 60 days, six more regular army and six additional Intervention Force battalions will become operational. Nine more regular army battalions will complete training in January, in time to help with security missions during the Iraqi elections at the end of that month.

And he will appeal for patience in September 2007 just like he did in September 2004.

There will be more tough times, frustration and disappointment along the way. It is likely that insurgent attacks will escalate as Iraq's elections approach. Iraq's security forces are, however, developing steadily and they are in the fight. Momentum has gathered in recent months. With strong Iraqi leaders out front and with continued coalition -- and now NATO -- support, this trend will continue. It will not be easy, but few worthwhile things are.

Paul Krugman and I are in total agreement this morning:

I don’t know why the op-ed article that General Petraeus published in The Washington Post on Sept. 26, 2004, hasn’t gotten more attention. After all, it puts to rest any notion that the general stands above politics: I don’t think it’s standard practice for serving military officers to publish opinion pieces that are strikingly helpful to an incumbent, six weeks before a national election.

In the article, General Petraeus told us that “Iraqi leaders are stepping forward, leading their country and their security forces courageously.” And those security forces were doing just fine: their leaders “are displaying courage and resilience” and “momentum has gathered in recent months.”

In other words, General Petraeus, without saying anything falsifiable, conveyed the totally misleading impression, highly convenient for his political masters, that victory was just around the corner. And the best guess has to be that he’ll do the same thing three years later.

You know, at this point I think we need to stop blaming Mr. Bush for the mess we’re in. He is what he always was, and everyone except a hard core of equally delusional loyalists knows it.

Yet Mr. Bush keeps doing damage because many people who understand how his folly is endangering the nation’s security still refuse, out of political caution and careerism, to do anything about it.

Now I am not going to come right out and call the General a Loyal Bushie, but there is certainly a case that could be made if one were to assert that position. I have heard some grumbling that Petraeus got the billet and the fourth star because “he can be counted on.” That he will do the presidents bidding and allow him to run out the clock while ~30 Americans in his command are sacrificed to that end every single week. That is 2100 more between now and the end of this presidents term. An affable Westmoreland is no less a craven prick than the original.

And this infuriates me. The oath Petraeus took as an officer of the United States Army was to the Constitution of this nation, not to a president, not to a political party, not to a king; not to any man. The Constitution. The Social Contract itself. He also has an obligation to the soldiers who serve in his command. Should he abdicate either for political reasons; that, in my eyes, is tantamount to treason.

It is time to demand an end to this folly, this failed presidency, this threat to the American experiment. The remedy is in the Constitution. It is impeachment. And it is necessary. Not just because I don’t like this guy and want to begrudge him power; but because I do not want any American president to ever have the powers that this one has claimed. The only way to undo the damage, and stop the war, is to impeach this bastard already.

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