There is an issue, a topic, that has been lurking around the back of my mind. It keeps cropping up in different contexts, and it’s paralyzing. Every time I try to articulate it, I find that I can’t whittle it down below book length.

But I can articulate the question, even if I can’t figure out how to concisely answer it.

Are we at war, or not?


Maybe we should start by taking a look at this poll. As far back as December, 57% of Americans believed that the Iraq War was not worth fighting. In fact, 47% felt strongly that the war was not worth fighting.

I think these numbers help to explain why the MSM is loathe to report on the Downing Street Minutes, or to acknowledge the routine torture and religious humiliation that our government has been resorting to in the so-called ‘war on terror’.

Simply put, the case for war is dead. It has been exposed as a hoax. The war is not going well. We are hemorrhaging money that we don’t have to fight a war that was unnecessary. If the public really turns against the war, then the war is lost. And if Iraq is left in its current condition, it could have serious consequences that are hard to predict. A region-wide interruption of energy supplies is not out of the question.

The media is an uncomfortable position. But the Democrats that sit on our Armed Services, Foreign Relations, and Intelligence committees are in an even more uncomfortable position. Invading Iraq was not an urgent foreign policy requirement, but getting Iraq stabilized now that we have invaded it, is.

Given how much the world relies on a steady supply of oil and gas from the middle east, the stabilization of Iraq is a major interest of all nations. All of our economies could suffer dramatically if the region becomes volatile.

But the Bush administration is not making any concessions to the world, or to the Democrats. Instead, they are pushing John Bolton for the U.N. post, trying to undo the New Deal, and pushing the nuclear option in the Senate.

How is this possible?

Do they not see how critical the situation has become? Do they not see how badly they have erred? How severely their credibility has been damaged?

Anyone who makes a deal with this administration, or continues to do business with them, has their credibility undermined as a result. This is as true of Karzai, Musharraf, Mubarak, the House of Saud, as it is of Joe Lieberman and Joe Biden.

That is why Newsweek’s story had to be attacked, that is why the Downing Street story has to be ignored. We cannot afford to see a further erosion of credibility in our government. And even the Democrats understand this. We are at war, and we are losing.

The Bush administration should realize how critical things have become. They should treat this situation with the seriousness that it deserves. They should recognize that they still have one major card to play. That card is the interest the whole world has in maintaining a stable supply of energy from the region. The world cannot afford for the region to fall into chaos.

The first step is to reach out to the Democrats. A good start would be to fire Rumsfeld and put a someone like Carl Levin in charge of Defense. They should withdraw Bolton and nominate a Democratic candidate to the UN. They should stop this nonsense about Social Security and the nuclear option, and act like grown ups.

I cannot believe how far off the rails the Republicans have gone. I cannot believe that they are fiddling while the world burns.

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