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Thursday, December 01, 2005

A White House in Turmoil

Since I last had the opportunity to post we have seen a shift in direction by the White House. The Bush administration adamantly opposed any reduction in troop numbers from Iraq and heavily critiqued what they have been calling a cut and run strategy by Rep. Jack Murtha. While I am not even going to get into the fact that they completely misrepresented Murtha's proposal and made it seem cowardish, I am going to get into the issue that the WH has had to make concessions, forcibly, and moves to position itself to order a troop reduction in Iraq, possibly next year, without seeming to bend to public demand. A White House that considers itself above the rest and that it answers to no one has been humbled slightly by large public opposition, and growing discontent within its own party. It is no secret that Rep. Murtha's call struck a cord with the American public and raised a sense of urgency within the President's own party. Senators and House Representatives, faced with re-election next year, are jumping ship. They recognize the danger in supporting a highly unpopular President supporting a highly unpopular war. They also see the mistakes made during hurricane Katrina and the corruption within the WH, exemplified by the CIA Leak case, and do not want to be associated with it (although it may be too late). Washington is a place for interests, not friends. Politicians will turn on you when you are no longer of any use to them.

The Bush WH is facing much tougher challenges than an eroding party. They are faced with legal investigations that threaten to ensnare Bush's top adviser Karl Rove, and there has even been mention of possible involvement as high as the Vice-President. The Iraq War continually proves how incompetently the war plan has been handled. The lead up to war by the likes of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Libby (already indicted in the CIA Leak), Wolfowitz, and the neo-conservative cabal within the cabinet is slowly being exposed and more focus is falling the question of whether information was manipulated. A large majority now believes that information was manipulated, and the WH misfires by sending Cheney, the most disliked politician in Washington, out to counterattack. The President also faces the worst ratings a President has ever had this early into his second term. His domestic agenda for this year fell apart, his main issue , Social Security reform, now a joke. Next year's agenda will depend heavily on whether Iraq improves, and more importantly the withdrawal of troops. They are already positioning themselves to pull out some of the armed forces. That is how strong the pressure is on the White House. But yesterday, President Bush still forcibly argued that he would not withdraw until there was complete victory. I highly doubt that is possible, which means that more soldiers will die before he is forced, by public demand, to pull out of Iraq completely. At that time, I would not be surprised if the White House does a take straight out of the Vietnam, Nixon and later Ford White House book: declare victory and leave. Even though everyone knows we lost Vietnam.

The public supports the military staying in Iraq a bit longer, as I do to. But my support is for trying to at least stabilize the situation enough so we can possibly pull out and not have the country descend into civil war. The public on the other hand still wants a victory and they are not at their wits end (if I thought a victory were possible I would support it, but I just don't think it is possible). They are willing to hold on a bit longer, but as the casualties continue to mount, the support for the war will erode and they will begin demanding immediate withdrawals. One thing is for sure, the troops will have the public's support, regardless of support for the war. The American people understand that these young men and women are doing their jobs and risking their lives for someone else's bidding. Sadly those someones have never really understood what it is to go to war, to them it is just orders, it is standing before a crowd and sounding tough, no real sacrifice, just words. The only sacrifice they will ever make for a war of their own causing is low poll numbers.

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