David Broder, the “dean” of the White House press corps, has been demonstrating his out-of-touchness for quite some time (his famed “Bush Bounce” column being an all-time low, of course), so I don’t know why he continues to surprise me, or indeed why I continue to pay attention. Perhaps I’m just a masochist. But I do pay attention. And yup, he’s done it again.
There are many things that I don’t understand about the Democrats and the current “debate” about the Iraq war and the funding thereof. The first thing I don’t understand is, why is the debate even going on? The argument seems, to me, absurdly simple. We won the war. Saddam is dead. There are no weapons of mass destruction. The Iraqis have elected their own government. The Iraqis want us out of there. The majority of Americans want us out of there. Why is there even a debate at all? Why is this complicated?
(To those who say, “But the situation could get worse if we leave!” I respond, yes, indeed, and the situation could also get worse if we stay. We’ve stayed longer, now, than it took us to defeat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan combined, and the situation hasn’t gotten better. Hell, we haven’t even secured Baghdad after all this time. Why shouldn’t we leave and see if it doesn’t get better?)
But another thing that confuses me is why everyone continues to acquiesce in the dishonest and disingenuous debating tactic that the White House engaged in, which Broder is putting forth. Their argument goes like this: cut off the funding, and the troops won’t get food, or bullets, or gas for their HumVees, and it will be your fault, you evil, evil Democrats! They will run out ammo in the middle of a firefight!
What rubbish. And Broder, of course, is buying right into it. Equating cutting the funding and finally denying Bush his blank check with “deny[ing] arms and protective equipment for the troops” is of course utterly absurd. Would a general go into battle without arms and protective equipment? Would a lack of funds not create push-back on the Administration to actually consider a different plan other than their insane holding pattern (which they clearly intend to keep hanging on to until January, 2009)? It’s laughable. But Broder, most other pundits, and most politicians have bought into this insanity.
The second thing is Broder’s assertion about a “precipitous withdrawal,” an alarmist phrase guaranteed to make readers think that, hey, presto, the troops would magically disappear off the battlefield and reappear in their own living rooms. Broder’s lack of knowledge of military logistics is apparent in phrases like this (or he is being deliberately misleading); if Bush were to order a U.S. drawdown today, it would take several months, if not a full year, to remove all our forces and equipment from Iraq. I doubt sincerely that anyone would consider that “precipitous.”
Hopefully, the Democrats will look at the polls, both their own since they caved on the Iraq funding bill, and Bush’s (how much more lower does he have to go before they get some courage?), and they’ll show some ‘nads in September. But frankly, I’m expecting September to be the beginning of yet another Friedman unit.