The definition of "victory" in Iraq has certainly been a moving target over the last 4 plus years. According to the original justification we won 3 plus years ago - Saddam is out of power, and now dead, and no threat from WMDs, of course there never was a threat. It seems now that the latest justification is to defeat the terrorist and insurgency that was created by the initial invasion and the following mis-management. The entire Democracy thing was just a passing fad. It's becoming increasingly obvious that the new "victory" as seen by the neocons and the Bush administration is to postpone the inevitable withdrawal long enough so they can blame it on the terrorist loving Democrats and the other 60 plus percent of the Americans who think it's time to get out. The New York Times has a commentary today that I agree with for the most part.
On to the Hard Part on Iraq
President Bush lost touch long ago with Iraq’s political reality — not to mention Americans’ anguish and disbelief at his mismanagement of the war. So we welcome the House of Representatives’ long-overdue attempt to shake some sense into Mr. Bush with a resolution opposing his decision to send another 20,000 combat troops to fight this disastrous war without any plan to end it.This is indeed what needs to be done and the Administration and hegemonic war mongering neocons will resist. It was never their intention to withdraw from Iraq. A, if not the, primary reason for the invasion and occupation was to establish a permanent military presence in the region. So how to halt the insanity? I agree with the Times that Murtha's plan is not the answer. A more effective way to "slow bleed" it might be to make them pay for it. How about a 5% war surcharge on all income over $200,000? That would get some-one's attention. Strict timetables and and consequences if they are not met as the Times suggests would also be better than Murtha's plan. The timetables would not be met as the Shiite government has no desire to have a unified government so after perhaps a brief respite the violence will once again intensify. With the Shia militia's sitting it out for a while the surge will for all purposes be an ethnic purge of Sunnis which will result in Saudi Arabia and Egypt pumping more arms and supplies into the country. The real hope may be the rumored talks between Iran and the Saudis, neither one of which really wants a regional war and both know that the Bush administration's policy will eventually result in one.
Yet yesterday’s vote, in which 17 Republicans joined the Democrats to produce a margin of 246 to 182, was the easy part. It takes no great courage or creativity for a politician to express continuing support for the troops and opposition to a vastly unpopular and unpromising military escalation. Even if the Senate manages to overcome its procedural self-hobbling and approve a similar resolution, the war and the mismanagement will go on.
The next necessary steps will require harder thinking and harder choices. Congress needs to do what Mr. Bush is refusing to do: link further financing for the war to the performance of Iraq’s Shiite-led government, which is making no serious effort to rescue its country from civil war.
Congress needs to impose clear benchmarks and rigorous timetables, insisting that the Iraqi government stop equivocating and start disarming sectarian militias, adopt a formula to share oil revenues equitably and end employment discrimination against Sunni Arabs. Congress must be prepared to cut off financing if the Iraqis refuse.