OVERTURE: Now we've lost both Steve Gilliard and Molly Ivins -- two vital,
feisty, great-writer journalist/blogger voices speaking truth to power.
And Cindy Sheehan's voice will be more muted now, as she recovers from
her immensely draining anti-war battles. All three were essential to the
building of our current Movement. The progressive community holds them
dearly to our collective heart -- and Cindy will return re-energized, we
ACT 1: SURVIVAL OF THE UNFITTEST
When trying to figure out the motives of the Bush Administration on
nearly any issue you can think of, the first place to look should always
be Karl Rove's "politics" workshop. By "politics," I mainly mean how an
action affects the survival of the CheneyBush Administration, and only
incidentally with how it affects the Republican Party.
This solipsistic concern for their own political/economic welfare is as
true today with regard to the various impeachable scandals -- lying to
Congress to foment wars, the outing of a covert CIA agent, the domestic
spying program, U.S. Attorney firings, etc. -- as it was in the first
years of the CheneyBush Administration.
We were told in those early years, by a White House insider, of the
predominance of Rove's political operation in deciding which policies
the Administration would advocate and support. Whoops! Strike that word
"predominance," since there was virtually no policy-making apparatus in
the White House; politics was effectively the ONLY thing in play.
"KIDS ON BIG WHEELS"
That insider was John DiIulio, who was the first chief of Bush's
faith-based-funding operation -- another politics-based scheme, this one
designed to pay off the fundamentalist base with grants of public funds
to religious groups. DiIulio in 2002 put his finger right on the button
of why the CheneyBush Administration has been such a train-wreck. Here's
his money-quote in Ron Suskind's January 2003 article in
"There is no precedent in any modern White House
for what is going on in this one: a complete lack of a policy
apparatus. What you've got is everything -- and I mean everything --
being run by the political arm. It's the reign of the Mayberry
Machiavellis. ... When policy analysis is just backfill, to back up
a political maneuver, you'll get a lot of ooops."
Suskind writes: "An unnamed 'current senior White
House official' [said] pretty much the same thing: 'Many of us feel it's
our duty -- our obligation as Americans -- to get the word out that,
certainly in domestic policy, there has been almost no meaningful
consideration of any real issues. It's just kids on Big Wheels, who talk
politics and know nothing. It's depressing. DPC (Domestic Policy
Council) meetings are a farce'."
IRAQ IN 'O6, IRAQ in '08
It must be obvious to everyone by now that the CheneyBush Administration
has no intention of getting out of Iraq, and recent events have served
as confirmation. Bush and his Press Secretary Tony Snow blathered on the
other day about the
U.S. staying on in Iraq as it has in South Korea for 54 years.
Defense Secretary Gates confirmed that policy a few days ago that
America might well stay in its hardened military bases
in Iraq for
Plus, the U.S. is constructing the world's largest embassy, which
CheneyBushRove envision will be the locus for U.S. political and
military adventures in the greater Middle East for decades to come. Bush
is quoted in a
Dallas newspaper telling Texas friends that he is setting up Iraq so
his successor can not get out of "our country's destiny."
But the prospect of the U.S. troops being bled to death by a thousand
"insurgent" cuts over that time frame is not something the American
citizenry might look on with favor, so there's always a countervailing
political spin going on to create confusion and try to take the sting
out. And, surprise!, that spin gets spun as a new election cycle in
America comes into play.
IRAQ WITHDRAWAL-TALK THEN
Do you remember what happened in Iraq prior to the all-important 2006
midterm election? Here's how arch-conservative
Pat Buchanan (
www.antiwar.com/pat/?articleid=6812 reported it in July of 2005:
"Standing beside our defense secretary in
Baghdad, Prime Minister Ibrahim al Jaafari called for the speedy
withdrawal of U.S. forces. The top U.S. commander, Gen. George
Casey, also standing beside Rumsfeld, said 'fairly substantial'
withdrawals of the 135,000 U.S. troops in Iraq could begin by
"Casey's comment lends credence to a secret British defense memo
that described U.S. officials as favoring a 'relatively bold
reduction in force numbers.' The memo pointed to a drawdown of
Allied forces from 170,000 today to 66,000 by next summer, a cut of
over 60 percent.
"Previously, the administration had denounced war critics who spoke
of timetables, arguing that they signal the enemy to go to earth,
build its strength, and strike weakened U.S. forces during the
pullout. Now, America's top general is talking timetables."
But, of course, major withdrawals of American troops
never happened and any ideas about timetables were scrapped. It was all
spin designed for the 2006 midterm election, to help the Republicans
maintain their majorities in the House and Senate. (The Roveian ploy
didn't work, as the American public, tired of being bamboozled yet
again, threw the GOP bums out and installed Democratic majorities.)
IRAQ WITHDRAWAL-TALK NOW
These days, even amidst the talk of America remaining in Iraq for
decades, the Administration is engaging in feints and spin about the
possibility of the U.S. withdrawing tens of thousands of troops prior to
the 2008 election -- the election, it just so happens, that will decide
which party controls the Executive Branch (and presidential pardons) for
the next four years.
Just a few weeks ago, anonymous "senior administration officials" leaked
New York Times that the Iraq plan being considered calls "for a
reduction in forces that could lower troop levels [in] the midst of the
2008 presidential election to roughly 100,000, from about 146,000..."
Do they think we're that stupid not to see through their unbelievable,
pre-election B.S.? Wait, don't answer that question.
Clearly, the Congressional Republicans have got to figure out a way to
seem to be supporting Bush's war while not being associated with it in
any way. They know that support for the war is poison at the polls and
that they'll lose their jobs in a crushing defeat in 2008 unless the
Iraq War news starts turning positive and quickly. So spinning the
possibility of troop withdrawals is to their partisan benefit.
But those withdrawals ain't gonna happen. The Bush Administration, led
by Cheney and Rumsfeld, launched an unnecessary war, botched its
implementation and occupation, and helped foment a sectarian civil war.
There is no way, at least not at this stage, that Humpty Dumpty can be
put back together again, no way that the U.S. comes out looking good.
All the options at this stage are awful, but some, such as withdrawal
ASAP, are less onerous than the others. Staying in-country, presumably
hunkered down in hardened military bases on Iraqi soil, is no solution
at all, good, bad or otherwise. It turns American troops into stationary
targets for mortar and rocket attacks on the bases and moving targets
and potential political hostages once they drive off them. CheneyBush
simply refuse to acknowledge that most Iraqis do not want foreigners
permanently occupying their country.
ACT 2: 2008 IS ALL THAT MATTERS
Am I making this up, that all policy is filtered through a Rovian
political prism -- even, or especially, U.S. strategy in Iraq? Don't
take my word for it. Check out what the Washington Post's former Baghdad
Bureau Chief, Rajiv Chandrasekeran, reported in his book,
Life in the Emerald City."
As Chandrasekeran reports, the Coalition Provisional Authority
overseeing the U.S. occupation in the first few years was an ongoing
disaster, run by incompetent bunglers who could not talk or think
straight. Supposedly the CPA was preparing the ground for a functioning
democracy in Iraq -- based on setting up a privatized, free-market
"libertarian paradise," heedless of cultural/historical realities -- but
since the CPA had FUBAR-ed the situation so totally, Chandrasekeran
"What was best for Iraq [in 2004] was no longer
the standard. What was best for Washington was the new calculus. ...
The only election that mattered was the one in November -- in the
And that's where we are today both with regard to policy
in and about Iraq, and domestic policy as well. Unless it helps Rove lay
the groundwork for a GOP presidential victory in 2008 -- achieved by
hook or by crook -- forget about it.
THE U.S. ATTORNEYS SCANDAL
We now know, based on the evidence that has surfaced in the past several
months, that the presidential vote in November of 2008 is what lies at
the heart of the U.S. Attorneys scandal. Rove has a long history of
winning elections by any means necessary; one of his main ways of doing
this is to encourage the removal of hundreds of thousands of likely
Democratic voters from the precinct rolls in key states, by illegal or
unethical means. Usually, these voters are simply bumped from the rolls;
most of them live in vulnerable minority areas.
In addition, many of the fired U.S. attorneys in those key states were
leaned on by Rove and his minions to file criminal charges against
individuals or groups registering new Democratic voters and to do so
before the elections. It didn't matter if the charges were
unsubstantiated or ridiculous -- file the charges, smear the Dems and
their supporters prior to the balloting, make them spend hundreds of
thousands of dollars fighting the indictments, scare away wavering
voters who might vote Democratic, etc. For example, New Mexico's U.S.
Attorney David Iglesias says he was fired because he wouldn't file what
he called "bogus" charges of "voter fraud" before the election.
As the U.S. attorneys scandal unravels, the situation inside Alberto
Gonzales' Department of Justice has been revealed to be even more
outrageous: The DOJ, it turns out, is basically run as an arm of the
White House's political operation: inquiring about ideology and party
affiliation (which is illegal) before appointing applicants to judicial
jobs, staffing the Civil Rights Division with those antagonistic to
civil rights and thus not following the law, etc. And other government
agencies are similarly infected as well, holding workplace seminars on
ways to aid "our candidates," which is also illegal, etc.
It's abundantly clear that Gonzales will not resign and will not be
fired; he's the consiglieri in the White House mob, knowing too
much about the various illegalities to be cut loose. The House should
initiate impeachment hearings of Gonzales ASAP.
EPILOGUE: CHENEYBUSH MUST GO SOONEST
Likewise, Bush and Cheney will not resign. They are prepared to
sacrifice thousands of more troops in Iraq -- and perhaps put them in
danger over Iran as well -- in order to further their imperial policies
in the greater Middle East. During the next year and a half of their
scheduled tenure, the damage CheneyBush can do is immense: further
destruction of constitutional protections, fomenting more terrorist
anger, ruining America's reputation even more through aggressive wars
and through other policies as well; even on global warming, for example,
Bush is unwilling to do anything meaningful, other than to delay and
delay until he leaves office.
The only way out of this reckless nightmare endangering America's
national security is to initiate impeachment hearings at once against
Cheney and Bush. Once their "high crimes and misdemeanors" are laid out
as evidence for all the public to see, it's conceivable that many
Republicans will join the effort to convict, if for no other reason than
to hang on to their Congressional positions in the 2008 election. It's
won't be done maliciously -- it's just politics.