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Sunday, September 19, 2004

The song and dance

The framing of the debate goes on. Yesterday, Bush says that progress is being made in Iraq, and things are going well. Today, a few prominent and well-respected Republican senators "criticize" Bush for these comments:

John McCain:
McCain, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on "Fox News Sunday" that it was "a serious mistake" not to have had enough troops in place "after the initial successes" and that the mistake had led to "very, very significant" difficulties.

"I think every day that goes by that we don't remove these sanctuaries in Falluja and other places in the Sunni Triangle, the more expensive it's going to be at the time we take this out," McCain said.

He said he "would never have allowed the sanctuaries to start with."

"In the Falluja issue, our general in Baghdad said we were going to go in and capture or kill those who were responsible for the deaths of Americans," McCain said.

"And we went in, and then we pulled out. As Napoleon said, if you say you're going to take Vienna, you take Vienna."
McCain called for an increase in the Army of about 70,000 soldiers and for 20,000 to 25,000 more Marines.
Chuck Hagel:
Appearing on the same program, Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a fellow Republican, disagreed with Kyl that the United States was anywhere near victory.

"I don't think we're winning. In all due respect to my friend Jon Kyl, the term 'hand-wringing' is a little misplaced here," Hagel said.

"The fact is, a crisp, sharp analysis of our policies are required. We didn't do that in Vietnam, and we saw 11 years of casualties mount to the point where we finally lost.

"The fact is, we're in trouble. We're in deep trouble in Iraq," said Hagel, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees.
Lindsey Graham:
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has traveled to Iraq twice and is a member of the Armed Services Committee, said he doesn't "buy that" when told enough troops are in Iraq to do the job.

"There's a rhyme or reason to what's happening here," he said on CNN's "Late Edition." "They're attacking police stations. They're attacking people who want to join the army. They're trying to kill people who want to be part of a democratic government."
Richard Lugar:
Lugar, who is chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said "the incompetence in the administration" led to only $1 billion spent out of $18 billion appropriated last year for reconstruction efforts.
And the Democrats are chiming in as well. Joe Biden:
"No. 1, on the police training, we've wasted 17 months," Biden said. "We should be using some imagination. Pick out the 500 most likely leaders in the police force, put them on a 747, fly them to Bonn, Germany, or to Berlin, and tell them to train them and train them as leaders, so they're paramilitary police.

"The president's going to the United Nations [Tuesday]," he said. "You know what we list as our priorities for the United Nations General Assembly? Dealing with sex trade, which is important. Dealing with cloning. Dealing with spread of democracy.

"Not one word of Korea. Not one word with regard to Iraq. Not one word with regard to Iran. It's like Wonderland," said Biden, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Carl Levin:
Democratic Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan said on CNN's "Late Edition" that he doubted the administration would make any of the tough decisions until after the November election.

"And it's too bad, because it's most important that this administration listen to some of even its Republican critics, which is that we've got a significantly worsening situation in Iraq," said Levin, the ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee.
Of course, the gist of all this "criticism" is not that Bush has been too aggressive or brutal in prosecuting his illegal war, but that he hasn't been brutal enough. This framing of the debate is of course a setup for John Kerry, who in his servile little mind will see only two choices: Agree with Bush that things are going well, or with the Senators that we need more troops, more cops, more bombs. Given that his whole campaign is based on trying to prove that he's tougher than Bush, there's little doubt that he will echo comments like McCain's. I believe there is a high probability that this whole "criticism" of Bush by the Republicans was planned specifically for this purpose.

And the string-pullers behind the scenes couldn't be happier. I'd guess that they'd prefer to see Bush win, but their real purpose is to see that American military imperialism continues. As Kerry continues to try to out-hawk one of the most hawkish presidents ever, their goal seems certain to be achieved.

Kerry is making a big speech on Iraq tomorrow. I predict that he'll be clearer than ever before that his solution to the Iraq quagmire will be more force, more troops, more money. The debate will then be framed between the hawk Kerry and the "dove" Bush. God help us all.