Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Democrats to push for troop draw downs

The week ahead could be dominated by news that Democrats will start pushing for troop withdrawals from Iraq. Via Reuters:
Democrats, who won control of the U.S. Congress, said on Sunday they will push to begin withdrawing American troops from Iraq in the next few months but the White House cautioned against fixing timetables.

The Iraqi government must be told that U.S. presence is "not open-ended," said Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat expected to be chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee in the new Congress that convenes in January.

"We need to begin a phased redeployment of forces from Iraq in four to six months," Levin said on ABC's "This Week."

President George W. Bush has insisted that U.S. troops would not leave until Iraqis can take over security, and has repeatedly rejected setting a timetable for withdrawal.

The White House, however, said that Bush is open to new ideas and the president will meet on Monday with the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, which is considering alternative approaches.
And things are already being recast on the conservative side, according to this Newsweek report about key figures from George H.W. Bush's presidency playing an active role.
The American people, as politicians like to say, spoke last week—and spoke in no uncertain terms. The 2006 vote does not suggest an eagerness for a sharp left turn. It seems, rather, to be a plea for a shift from the hard right of the neoconservatives to the center represented by the old man in Houston. The re-emergence of Iraq Study Group voices such as Baker, Gates and Alan Simpson—all longtime friends of Bush Senior—is not unlike the entrance of Fortinbras at the conclusion of "Hamlet." These are 41's men, and the removal of Rumsfeld—an ancient rival of Bush Senior's from the Ford days—is a move toward the broad middle. The apparent triumph of pragmatism over ideology on Iraq was welcome news, at least to the public. In the new NEWSWEEK Poll, 67 percent favor Bush Senior's internationalist approach to foreign policy over his son's more unilateral course.
Whether Papa Bush and friends can save the day is an open question. The eggs are already broken and the omelet is burnt. There is no grand coaliton, as in 1990-91. His son made sure of that.

Exactly what change in strategy or tactics might lead to a different result in Iraq is fairly difficult to imagine at this point. The Iraqi government is incapable of governing or maintaining order, and the various factions continue to kill at an alarming rate. Calls for partitioning Iraq seem desperate at best, a recipe for endless regional conflict at worst.

The right wing noise machine will likely crank itself up yet again, and their devotees will doubtless start in with their attacks on Democrats' patriotism. Sadly, a good deal of that yammering will insert itself into the regular media.

As Democrats begin to act on behalf of the American people, it's important that we not allow the right wing noise machine to define the terms of the debate.

Demands for simple solutions should be dismissed. We've had enough platitudes, aphorisms and insults over the last six years from the right-wingers to last a lifetime. It is far past time for the regular media to ignore those who cannot make reasoned arguments, and it is especially overdue for the regular media to stop promoting the voices of hate as "entertainment." Our country needs to have a serious discussion about the war in Iraq.

It's going to take a great deal of hard work, creativity and good luck to extract ourselves from this debacle, and if the Iraq Study group comes up with some good ideas, we should be all ears. But it needs to be a two way street.

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