I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Enabling Incompetence

The National Intelligence Estimate released in part yesterday makes it clear that the Bush strategy for fighting the war on terror is a failure and that Even Bush's intelligence report says the war in Iraq is making us less safe at home. But as Harold Meyerson points out the Republicans continue to support him even risking political suicide to do so.
Spineless Sages
Top GOP Senators Only Talk Against the War
Anyone searching for the highest forms of invertebrate life need look no further than the floor of the U.S. Senate last week and this. These spineless specimens go by various names -- Republican moderates; respected senior Republicans; Dick Lugar, John Warner, Pete Domenici, George Voinovich.

They have seen the folly of our course in Iraq. The mission, they understand, cannot be accomplished. The Iraqi government, they discern, is hopelessly sectarian.

In wisdom, they are paragons. In action, they are nullities.

Perhaps they are simply farsighted. They have seen the problem with Nouri al-Maliki's administration in faraway Baghdad. They seem unable to see the problem with the Bush administration at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

The Lugars and the Warners seem to share with many of their Democratic colleagues a common assessment of our presence in Iraq: It has become an unfocused and costly occupation in a land beset by civil war. We should, in good order, pull back, leaving behind only what we need to deter jihadists who threaten us.

Problem is, the Warners and the Lugars don't actually want to act on their perception. They oppose the legislation by Democrats Carl Levin and Jack Reed that would require the administration to begin reducing our forces in Iraq within 120 days and to remove all but that anti-jihadist force by next April.

Instead, they have drafted legislation that would require the administration to draw up plans for a pullback -- but not to implement them. Indeed, they act continually as if George Bush and Dick Cheney are amenable to argument and open to facts. "I'm hopeful they'll change their minds," Domenici said last week after a meeting with national security adviser Stephen Hadley. "I think we should continue to ratchet up the pressure, in addition to our words," said Voinovich, "to let the White House know we are very sincere."

Very sincere -- now there's a threat that concentrates the mind. These Republicans who proclaim their independence without acting on it have failed to come to terms with the single most important reality confronting them: that Bush and Cheney will keep the war going until Congress forces them to stop.
I'm not sure that Meyerson is entirely correct. He's right, they are spineless, but I think there is more to it than that. They simply can't stand the idea that the Democrats might win this fight. Yes that is what it's come to. They would rather let the Bush administration continue down the same disastrous path than give the appearance that the Democrats actually have the power to do what a majority of Americans know is the right. There thinking is that it's worse to do something that might give the Democrats a political advantage that continue to do the wrong thing.

Another problem I have with Meyerson's commentary is the kudos he gave to Oregon's Gordon Smith.
A few Republicans have come to terms with that. When the Senate votes, probably today, on ending the Republican filibuster against the Levin-Reed legislation, three Republicans -- Chuck Hagel, Gordon Smith and Olympia Snowe-- have pledged to side with those who would compel the administration to begin withdrawals.
We have seen that Mr Smith will never vote with the Democrats when his vote would actually make a difference.

Digby has some thoughts:
This is one reason why I really hate calling the Democrats spineless. It's true that they sometimes are, but compared to their single cell invertebrate comrades on the other side they are super-heroes. The Republicans laid down for Dick Cheney's Unitary executive like a bunch of cheap hookers during fleet week with nary a thought for the constitution or even their own prerogatives.
Read the entire thing.

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