Now, I am perhaps a little more cynical about politics than most. JFK was shot within a few months of my birth. By the time I was 7, Bobby Kennedy had been shot, Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot, Johnson had lied us into the mess in Vietnam, and Nixon had been elected. My formative years were covered by Watergate. Iran/Contra dominated my young adulthood. Is it any wonder that I’m cynical?
Even so, the whole “surge” seems cynically calculated, even by my low standards. It has always seemed clear to me that it is nothing more than an attempt by Bush to run out the clock on his disastrous war until January 20, 2009. First, he announces it in January, but it isn’t “complete” until June. 5 months to get the troops “in theater.” How convenient!
In order to manipulate public opinion to get his money, Bush sends out his cronies in the last few months saying that General Patreaus will give Congress an “update” on the “surge” in September. So we have a “new strategy” in January, which is not “complete” until June. In June, we get further stalling tactics until September. And in September, what will we get? The real information?
Don’t be absurd. A few weeks ago, Bush starting informing us that we would see escalated violence during the summer, i.e. between now and September. And Tony Snow has spent the last couple of weeks backing off of the Administration’s stance that we can expect to see any results by September. And General Patreaus himself has been lowering expectations for his September report right and left.
So what can we expect in September? There are three options:
- There will have been more violence over the summer, in which case the Administration will say, “This is exactly what we expected. This is proof that the surge is working. We need to stay the course.”
- There will have been less violence over the summer, in which case the Administration will say, “Violence is receding! This is proof that the surge is working. We need to stay the course.” (There will also be accusations that anyone who suggests otherwise is a coward, a traitor, or worse.)
- As General Patreaus noted today, it’s possible that the level of violence may remain the same, in which case the Administration will say, “Violence has stabalized! This is proof that the surge is working. We need to stay the course.”
There are no other options. This Administration will never admit that the surge is not working, or that the war in Iraq is lost, despite the fact that majority of Americans already believes that to be the case (57% in the latest poll, and trending upward). The Administration will continue to play the “surge” card until the noise from the election grows loud enough, and then they will play some other cynical card (Iran invasion? Another trumped-up terrorist plot? Syrian invasion?). And in the meantime, our brave troops will continue to die, manipulated like pawns.
(And yes I’m angry; I may not be in uniform, but my father was, my father-in-law was, and countless uncles, aunts, and cousins are and have been. They do not deserve to die due to a stubborn man’s inability to admit a mistake.)
The only way out of this I see–the only way–is for Congress to cut off the funding. And with a Presidential election coming up, I don’t think that will happen. So for the next 18 months, we will continue to see innocent Americans and Iraqis die. Because of Bush.