Come out, come out, wherever you are

November 20, 2006 by barbara

by barbara

Crikey! Let's see if I've got this straight:

Richard Armitage (Bush's former Deputy Secretary of State): "Iraq is as bad as it looks, and Afghanistan is worse than it looks." Armitage also told Seymour Hersh that bombing Iran and expecting the Iranian public "to rise up" and overthrow the government, as some in the White House believe, "is a fool's errand." Read on.

Kenneth Adelman: another former Bush insider (NOTE: their number is growing rapidly) said in an interview last week, "There are a lot of lives that are lost. A country's at stake. A region's at stake. This is a gigantic situation. . . . This didn't have to be managed this bad. It's just awful."

Newt Gingrich: Speaking about the White House's current occupants, Gingrich said, "People expect a level of performance they are not getting."

Richard Perle: Last week, Perle said, "If I had known that the U.S. was going to essentially establish an occupation (in Iraq), then I'd say, 'Let's not do it,'" and instead find another way to target Hussein. "It was a foolish thing to do."

Henry Kissinger: Kissinger told the BBC on Sunday that a military victory in Iraq is no longer possible.

Tony Blair: Blair seemed to agree with broadcaster David Frost's assertion that operations in Iraq had "been pretty much of a disaster" and followed up later, saying that military force alone cannot defeat terrorism.

And so it goes. Republicans and their allies are popping up like whack-a-moles, articulating their disdain of Things Bush in general and of the Bush War in particular. There is no small amount of schadenfreude for Democrats in all of this. It would be downright laughable if it weren't about an unethical war with global implications, launched by an unethical administration that heads up the government of the United States of America.

Where were all these people in October? (Yes, Perle went public in Vanity Fair with his concerns before the election.) Where were they in 2005? Most of all, where were they in 2004 as this nation was poised to give George Bush and Company a free pass for another four years? They stayed silent, apparently to keep the Republican Party in power, at whatever cost.

Here's the latest thing keeping me awake nights. Would they all have stayed silent if the Republicans had won on November 7, 2006? I have an uneasy feeling that many of these recent public eruptions would have remained sub rosa grumblings. Adelman said his silence until now was rooted in loyalty. "I didn't want to bad-mouth the administration."

I get that party loyalty is endemic to the political landscape. It is sometimes said about unpopular candidates or political office holders, "(S)he may be a butthead, but (s)he's OUR butthead." Roughly translated, that means, "(S)he's our party's standard bearer. You must be supportive and talk the party line, or you're so outta here." Turns out a lot of folks are opting out, but that's another story for another time.

Sometimes, loyalty to country trumps loyalty to party. That's true for both sides of the political divide. This time, it is the Democrats who have been rightly harping for several years about Iraq and other weighty matters. This particular partisan "kill the messenger" phenomenon has been deadly. You know the stats. Roughly 3,000 American dead, thousands more maimed, and something like 150,000 dead Iraqis. And the future in Iraq is dismal.

The wailing of the left is finally met with an antiphonal response from the right.

If ours were a country where votes of no-confidence could topple incumbents, Bush and Company would be looking for new jobs. Personally, I would recommend extended terms of community service in Baghdad. But the sobering truth is that we have two more years of Bush and Cheney. And the more frightening part of that pair is Dick "Loose Cannon" Cheney. In the run-up to the November 7 elections, Cheney said if the Democrats won, that victory would not stop the Administration from pursuing a military option with Iran. Seymour Hersh relates how Cheney told a story from his youth about finding a way around his employer's rules. His meaning was quite clear. It was a metaphor for how the Bush administration will attempt to outmaneuver Congress. I have no doubt he means it.

The babble about bipartisanship needs to move beyond lip service. Republicans and Democrats, insiders and outsiders, elected officials and commoners, need to circle up together, paying close attention to what's happening in the Bush/Cheney war council, secret or no. After six years of reckless, feckless "leadership," it's time for everyone to tell the truth, yea, verily, blow the communal whistle.

Lott needs to talk to Pelosi. Dean needs to talk to Martinez. Kissinger needs to talk to Albright.

Someone on Air America recently suggested that our partisan problems might be partially resolved by requiring House and Senate members to co-mingle on the floor via bipartisan seating, thus ending the literal left/right side-of-the-aisle symbol. Couldn't hurt. The point is, it's essential to cut the crap and talk turkey. Tell the truth, even if it's not politically correct. November 7 was a mandate on that concept.

And just so you know? The emperor IS wearing clothes. His loins are girded for battle. He resembles Don Quixote, except that this time around, Don's got nuclear weapons and he's riding an elephant.

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