Must Read IMHO
I would like to believe both these people are wrong, but seriously doubt they are. We're witnessing political posturing for the folks back home, not a serious threat to Bush's getting his way.
This from P M Carpenter.
The latest unrequited Kabukism -- that of Democrats blustering as though they're going to get tough on Iraq -- is proof positive that the metaphor is merely an anachronism nestled in pre-9/11 thinking: the idea that Congress -- you remember Congress, that theoretical branch of government with war-declaring and budget authority and all that -- can and will influence Mr. Bush's actions. The reality is that Mr. Bush couldn't care less. His attitude? Let them eat Kabuki.
On the face of it, the Democrats' crooning is impressive indeed. As the Washington Post reported: "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid declared [Friday in a letter] that 'it is time to bring the war to a close' and warned President Bush that sending more U.S. troops to Iraq would be unacceptable to the Democratic majorities that have just taken over Congress."
Warned. Unacceptable. Sounds pretty tough. It's about to hit the fan, right?
I realize the complexities of our democratic system, especially in a time of war. And I understand those arguments that political scientists would offer -- arguments about the unmitigated difficulty of extrication, the antiwar party's not unreasonable fear of voter susceptibility to martial demagoguery, the inherent and unavoidable struggle between a determined commander in chief and nervous legislators -- and most of all arguments about the essential art of nuance in that power struggle.
But here's the one and only argument that Congressional Democrats must come to understand in today's political environment: Mr. Bush doesn't do nuance. He doesn't get it, doesn't abide it, and Democrats are wasting their trained talents exercising it. Like any bully, Mr. Bush only understands brute, frontal, uncompromising force.
And in that environment Democrats must give up Kabuki dancing and take up Sumo wrestling. No nuance is useful, just as there's no middle ground in war. We're either in one or we're not.
Which goes hand in hand with this from Dennis Perrin.
The current fantasy making the rounds is that Pelosi and Harry Reid are somehow "antiwar," and this is bolstered by a letter the two of them recently sent to Bush. Now, whatever Nancy Pelosi's current stand on Iraq really is, and I have no doubt that she, like a lot of elite Americans, are tactically opposed to Bush's proposed troop "surge," the new Speaker of the House is hardly antiwar. There's no way a pro-war party like the Dems would promote someone who opposed their view that the US has a right to attack anyone it wants, so long as it's in the "national interest." If that were the case, Dennis Kucinich would be prominent among senior Dems. The invasion of Iraq carried with it a ton of risks, and so there was elite opposition to it --- not because of some philosophical hostility to imperialism, but because the invasion could very well damage the US military system, as well as incite anti-American hatred worldwide. Of course, this has pretty much transpired, which is why Dem leaders like Pelosi and Reid are against further escalation. If there weren't powerful forces supporting them, neither of these pols would dare broach the subject. "Redeployment," on the other hand, is perfectly acceptable --- indeed, necessary, if the US imperial project in the Middle East is to survive. And that, above all, is what Pelosi and Reid are trying to salvage. A complete and total pullout from Iraq is simply not going to happen, not voluntarily, anyway; and it definitely is not going to happen under the gaze of a San Francisco Dem.