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Monday, October 27, 2003


Bush's massive criminal screw-up is getting the negative attention it deserves. The Newsweek article quotes Senator John McCain comparing Iraq to Vietnam:

“This is the first time that I have seen a parallel to Vietnam,” McCain declared, “in terms of information that the administration is putting out versus the actual situation on the ground. I’m not saying the situation in Iraq now is as bad as Vietnam. But we have a problem in the Sunni Triangle and we should face up to it and tell the American people about it.” Also reminiscent of Vietnam, McCain said, was the administration’s reluctance to deploy forces with the urgency required for the quickest victory. “I think we can be OK, but time is not on our side... If we don’t succeed more rapidly, the challenges grow greater.”

I'm still fairly convinced that Republicans are the ones who will do Bush in, not the wimpy Democrats. McCain, Lugar, Hagel, Shelby, Chaffee, Snowe, Collins--these senators have shown a willingness to speak out against the administration on a few issues. I think Bush has to be a huge embarrassment to them, and a threat to their own re-elections if the troops and the jobs aren't back next year at this time.

Democrats, even Michigan's own Carl Levin, have been much too supportive of the whole Iraq mess. Someone on our e-mail list sent a copy of the reply he received from Levin to his letter about the $87 billion. Excerpt:

The $87 billion request included approximately $67 billion for the Department of Defense to continue military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The remaining $20 billion under President Bush's request would go for grants for the reconstruction of Iraq.

During the Senate's debate on this measure, I strongly supported the funding necessary to support the courageous members of our nation's armed forces in carrying out their ongoing mission to bring stability to Iraq. This included the $67 billion requested by President Bush for the Department of Defense, as well as $5 billion of the $20 billion for Iraq reconstruction programs which will go toward training Iraqi security forces to replace U.S.
troops performing routine police and protection duties.

Here was my response on the e-mail list:

I'm disgusted that he only really addresses the $20 billion for reconstruction, and addresses the rest as unquestionable. We spent more than $20 billion destroying the country; we should be willing to pay something to fix it. And instead of quibbling about loans, which strikes me as incredibly cheap, he should have insisted that Halliburton, Bechtel and MCI's contracts be revoked and all reconstruction be handled through Iraqi contractors (which would do much more to rebuild their economy as they would hire local subcontractors and suppliers).

But the even bigger crime is the $67 billion for continuing the occupation. Levin says "I strongly supported the funding necessary to support the courageous members of our nation's armed forces in carrying out their ongoing mission to bring stability to Iraq." (Check today's news to see how well that's working out.)

There are about 130,000 US troops in Iraq. If a one-way ticket home costs about $1000, it would cost $130 million to bring them all home. (Less than 0.2% of $87 billion. One five-hundredth.) That's the support they want and deserve. And it leaves plenty for substantial veterans benefits!

What is Levin's real angle on this? It's not a popular vote. He opposed the war last year. Does he just get his kicks flushing our money down the toilet, at the cost of hundreds of more American lives, and probably thousands of Iraqi lives?

Okay, I've drifted a bit. The good news is that Newsweek has a negative cover story about aWol's war, and that another Republican is openly questioning at least the conduct of it.