[because Santa still visits my house]
Bush and Rove understand poll numbers. They can feel the chill from Capitol Hill. They know that we’re going broke. They know that the military is spread too thin and recruitment is plummeting.
But there is something else they understand, and they did nothing to correct it tonight. They know that their goals in Iraq will be irrevocably lost if, and only if, domestic tolerance for the war collapses.
They made the decision to, once again, characterize the war in Iraq as a war against terrorists. They made the case for more money, lives, and sacrifice based on the increased risk of terrorism in this country and Europe, if we pull-out.
I notice this dovetails with a CIA study that was reported on this week in the New York Times. And it is probably true that pulling out of Iraq will leave behind a trained force of terrorists filled with a belief that Allah has given them a great victory.
But the real risk in Iraq is that an implosion of their society could draw in neighboring countries, it could result in ethnic and sectarian cleansing. And it could be disruptive to the energy sector of the world economy.
I know it’s difficult to admit mistakes, and it’s even harder to ask for help from your political enemies. But that is what Bush needs to do.
First, he needs to admit that he miscalculated how the Iraqis would feel about being liberated and occupied by the United States. Then he needs to explain what the humanitarian and economic risks are if Iraq becomes a failed state, and a regional battlefield. Then he needs to ask for help.
And since he has burned his bridges with both the American left, and with our European allies, he needs to offer us both something in return for our willingness to step in and try to clean up his mess.
Number one, is to fire Rumsfeld, and to replace him with someone acceptable to the Democratic leadership. Number two is to withdraw Bolton’s nomination. Number three is to drop his social security plan, and number four is to nominate a Supreme Court judge that has the prior approval of a solid majority of the Senate Judicial Committee.
Then he needs to offer up a platter of concessions to our European friends.
We cannot forgive the way the war in Iraq was thrust on us, nor can we forgive the way we have been treated as we raised caution after caution, and were called traitors in return.
But we can recognize a bloody mess when we see it. And we can agree that getting out of Iraq will be difficult and messy, and may have severe consequences for our economy and our national security.
But as long as you, Bush, are content to wage war on the American left, you cannot expect us to get your back. Take your agenda, your judges, and your worst performing cabinet members, and get them out of our face. Make peace with us, and we can help you make peace with the insurgents.
But if you call us traitors, question our patriotism, and try to railroad home your radical agenda, all we can do is fight back. You have too many enemies right now, you can’t afford to fight them all.
If you will admit that you have made some serious miscalculations, and that we have been correct in many of our predictions…that would be a start.
Stop feeding us the old lines about bin-Laden, Zarqawi, and terrorism, and explain what the real threats of failure are. Your Presidency is now on the verge of a total flameout, it’s time to throw out a life raft. And it begins with backing off your original plans for a second-term agenda, and making this more of a coalition government.