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Archive for Saturday, April 7, 2007

Bush goes on the offensive

April 7, 2007

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Just as a stopped clock is right twice a day, President Bush finally made some sense on Iraq this week. His forceful attack on the Democrats' deadline for withdrawing our combat troops hit the bull's-eye.

Bush had a fat, easy target. The House version of the military funding bill, which includes a September 2008 deadline, is loaded with domestic spending bribes needed to get members to support it. And immediately after passing their bills, the House and the Senate went on spring break without bothering to reconcile their differences. Until they do, lawmakers can't send the measure to Bush for his certain veto.

That amounts to a stalemate, with the Democrats overplaying their hand and playing into Bush's claims they are undermining our troops and setting us up for failure in Iraq. Bush, no doubt tired of being on defense over the war and the problems of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, seized an opportunity to shift the blame. Conveniently ignoring his own poor performance as commander in chief, he warned that, unless Dems give the military the money it needs and let the troops finish their mission, Iraq would become a "cauldron of chaos" where Islamic extremists could "plot attacks on America."

Painting Democrats as soft on terror is familiar turf for Bush, and some of the old swagger was back. He sounded like Dirty Harry's "make my day" when he demanded Congress get back to work. "They need to come off their vacation, get a bill to my desk, and if it's got strings and mandates and withdrawals and pork, I'll veto it. And then we can get down to the business of getting this thing done."

For Democrats, there are hypocrisy and risk in the move to force a troop withdrawal. They derided the president's surge in January by saying that most military commanders opposed it. Yet, as Bush crowed Tuesday, not a single commander has voiced support for their withdrawal timetable. With the added talk of tax hikes under House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Dems are on the verge of reinforcing their stereotypes of being anti-military and pro-taxes.

Bush also sought to portray them as hurting military families, warning that a funding delay could mean longer stays in Iraq for some troops and earlier deployment for others.

"Congress' most basic responsibility is to give our troops the equipment and training they need to fight our enemies and protect our nation. They're now failing in that responsibility, and if they do not change course in the coming weeks, the price of that failure will be paid by our troops and their loved ones," he said.

Those are serious charges, but Bush's gambit also is full of risks. His claim of progress in securing Baghdad could be undone in the instant it takes a car bomb to go off. And Democrats are right that voters are tired of the war, so they are scoring points even among some independents by standing up to Bush.

Politically and practically, however, there is little they can do to stop Bush's surge of 25,000 more troops. They are boxed in, for now, but maybe not for long. It all depends on what happens in Iraq.

Already, there is speculation that military commanders there, who will get the full surge contingent by early June, will have the remainder of the year to show real and sustained progress. If they fail, the battle over withdrawal will become an important marker on the road to our defeat.

- Michael Goodwin is a columnist for the New York Daily News.

Comments

drewdun 7 years, 8 months ago

" he warned that, unless Dems give the military the money it needs and let the troops finish their mission, Iraq would become a "cauldron of chaos" where Islamic extremists could "plot attacks on America."

"Could" become a cauldron of chaos? Are you f** kidding me?

"Bush also sought to portray them as hurting military families, warning that a funding delay could mean longer stays in Iraq for some troops and earlier deployment for others."

That's rich coming from Bush, who trademarked the screwing of military families (deployment extensions, less than a year between deployments, and what was that other thing? OH YEAH, STARTING THIS GODD*** WAR IN THE FIRST PLACE).

"With the added talk of tax hikes under House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Dems are on the verge of reinforcing their stereotypes of being anti-military and pro-taxes."

Hmmmmmmmm, no mention of the enormous debt left by the Republicans. Wonder why that is.

"His claim of progress in securing Baghdad could be undone in the instant it takes a car bomb to go off."

Apparently this newspaperman doesn't read newspapers. The bombings have not stopped or decreased, regardless of the spin (read: lies) that emanates from the White House everyday.

This guys columns are all the same: stenograph Bush/GOP talking points and frame anything the Dems do to challenge their horsesh** as 'politically risky.' Basically Goodwin is the worst kind of concern troll for the Dems - "Don't challenge the president too much, hurts the troops and such and carries the risk of being seen as anti-military. Very politically risky." Give me a break. Newsflash here Goodwin - Bush is politically risky for the Republicans. We saw that in November. To say he is deeply unpopular is to put it lightly. People realize that he started this damn war, prosecuted it extremely poorly, and that its high time for someone to challenge the would-be king. Not only is it good for our nation, but its a political winner as well. We'll see that in November 2008. People just want an end to this war - the polls reflect that - and Bush is insistent on doing the opposite of what the American people want done. The Republican Party will be paying the price for his arrogance for years to come.

mick 7 years, 8 months ago

"Congress' most basic responsiblity is to give our troops..." Bush. No, Congress' most basic responsibilty is to represent the will of the electorate.

cowboy 7 years, 8 months ago

ah remember the days when you could fire up a few torches , grab your shovels and sticks and just run the bums out of town , we need a modern day version of get rid of the king !

deec 7 years, 8 months ago

Refute the other posters. Use facts, not generalities and name-calling. Or support your opinions, again, with facts and citations. Debate like an adult.

paladin 7 years, 8 months ago

Does anyone remember what happened to the Soviet Union when it became stubbornly entrenched in the quagmire of the Mid-east? It went broke and, shortly thereafter, disintegrated, fell apart. What, it can't happen to US? The longer the US is mired in the mess that is our occupation of Iraq, the more entrenched we will be in the entire region and the greater the likelihood that it will lead to our ruin, financially and as a world leader, militarily, economically, and morally. Get out ASAP, before its too late. Pragmatically, its the only feasible option.

drewdun 7 years, 8 months ago

"And judging by the way Dems are acting, coupled with the utterly laughable line-up for the Dem ticket for '08" - rt

Yeah, I'm sure that the candidates in the Dems 'utterly laughable line-up' are shaking in their boots at the DREAM TEAM of GOPers running.

HHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHAHA

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