May 24, 2007

Bowing to the Inevitable

Hatched by Dafydd

Big Lizards -- and a whole lot of other folks -- has said repeatedly that, in the end, the Democrats would have to give President Bush the money he needs to keep fighting the war against global jihad... and give it to him without timetables for surrender, without absurd and bogus "readiness rules" that would prevent fresh units from replacing combat-weary veterans, and without 535 "little generals" issuing tactical commands to the troops in the field.

(We tried that last during the Civil War, but it was fewer than 535 back then. Still didn't work.)

The Democrats, for their part, swore that they would never, ever pass such funding without a timeline for withdrawal -- a date certain for American defeat.


Bowing to President Bush, the Democratic-controlled Congress lined up reluctantly Thursday to provide fresh billions for the Iraq war without the troop withdrawal timeline that drew his earlier veto....

Five months in power on Capitol Hill, Democrats in both houses coupled their concession to the president with pledges to challenge his war policies anew. "Those of us who oppose this war will be back again and again and again and again until this war has ended," said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.

"I hate this agreement," added Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee who played a key role in talks with the White House that yielded the measure....

Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, alone among the Senate's Democratic White House hopefuls, pledged in advance to oppose the bill. Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware said he supported it.

That left Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois publicly uncommitted in the hours leading to the vote, two leading White House rivals tugged in one direction by the needs of 165,000 U.S. troops - and in another by party activists demanding rejection of the legislation.

After the previous bruising veto battle, Democratic leaders said they hoped to clear the bill for Bush's signature by this Memorial Day weekend.

I know I already talked about this; but it's one of the most important inflection points in prosecuting the overall war, as well as the battles of Iraq and Afghanistan within it: For the first time since last November, we now know for certain that today's Congress hasn't the will to cram defeat down our throats, the way yesterday's did in 1974.

That is a monumental revelation. As much as I have always believed it to be true, it's a tremendous relief to see it verified by actions under the dome.

This also points up the huge distinction between domestic policies, like immigration -- where Congress is typically willing to compromise -- and foreign policy, especially war, where one side must win and the other must lose. As a political (not military) battle, war is a zero sum game: Either you support it, or you don't; you cannot "split the difference" and half-support it.

The congressional kabuki dance also demonstrates the immense superiority of our system of government, a constitutional republic with a strong chief executive, over that of any parliamentary democracy... a more primitive and generally failed form of government that is basically institutionalized tribalism.

To the extent parlimentarianism works at all, it only does when one party seizes so much power that the prime minister more or less apes an American president... as with Tony Blair recently or Winston Churchill during World War II.

But a president has inherent power and the "energy" (as the Federalist Papers put it) to act decisively, while Congress dithers. Even when President Bush's own party wavered, frightened and sweating, Bush stood firm; and by his own force of personality (or mulishness, as you prefer), the plenary powers of the presidency, and the "bully pulpit," he forced Congress to bow to his will.

If this were a parliamentary democracy, he would have been removed as head of the party or his government would have suffered a vote of no-confidence. Bush would have been replaced by an isolationist from the House, who would have pulled out of the war in disgrace and defeat; and if the Democrats won the subsequent election, Squeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury, 95%) would now be that "First Speaker."

(Say, maybe that's why lefties so very much prefer parliamentary democracies to our federal republic: Mob rule is much easier in the former.)

Fortunately, we had Founding Fathers who were geniuses, and we shall continue fighting this existential war:

Bush ordered the deployment of an additional five brigades to Iraq in January to try and quell sectarian violence, and he said summer would be critical to the fate of the new strategy.

Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq, has pledged to report to the administration and Congress in September on the progress made in the war, and Bush conceded that al-Qaida terrorists and illegal militias will make sure there is heavy fighting in the interim to try and sap the will of the United States.

"And so, yes, it could be a bloody - it could be a very difficult August," he said.

He said he wants to see American troops "in a different configuration at some point in time in Iraq." He said that meant moving from mostly combat to training, border security and special forces anti-terror operations.

"However," Bush said, "it's going to require taking control" of Baghdad.

I wonder how many Democrats (or even Republicans) will remember in August that back in May, Bush warned it would be bloody, violent, and would probably kill a lot of American heroes. Not many, I would guess; they'll claim that Bush said it would be a "cakewalk" (which he never said, nor did anyone in command authority in the administration), and they'll call it another "Bush lie."

But take Baghdad we must, by any means necessary. That's the game on a nutshell; and now that the Democrats caved, we have a real chance of achieving exactly that.

I wonder how the nutroots are taking the collapse of "the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party?" Even less certain, I wonder how the nutroots will react if we actually manage to secure victory in Iraq? Will they demand we return the "stolen property" -- the Iraqi population -- to the Baathists?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, May 24, 2007, at the time of 4:06 PM

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The following hissed in response by: Terrye

To think, they could have done this months ago and spared us all this drama. I only hope events on the ground impove enough to maintain the surge.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 24, 2007 4:17 PM

The following hissed in response by: Stephen Macklin

I wonder if the sting of this surrender will cause some of the saner Democrats to rethink their...

Never mind.

The above hissed in response by: Stephen Macklin [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 24, 2007 4:57 PM

The following hissed in response by: nk

A surrender monkey does not change his yellow stripe.

The above hissed in response by: nk [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 24, 2007 6:42 PM

The following hissed in response by: nk

That last comment may have been too laconic. I meant that when push came to shove they gave in on the funding just as they have given in to the terrorists.

The above hissed in response by: nk [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 24, 2007 6:44 PM

The following hissed in response by: Rovin

Kennedy was sweatin' bullets all day acting like he was the majority leader and Harry was no where to be seen. I guess the Dems thought they better get something done (they thought they could brag about) before they got home this weekend to catch the ration from their constituents.

The trade-off was a pathetic and rushed immigration bill that will need to be refined/revamped........better that nothing? Who knows.

Now (at least) GW can tell General Petraeus the political games the left has been playing with the lives of his troops (and 30 million Iraqi) is over for a bit. Now the General has the summer to win the war/peace, 'cause it will be up to the Iraqi's to carry their own ball after that.

Three cheers for the sane portion of the democratic party that finally came to their senses, well most of them. Hillary voted not to support the troops and that may be a defining (Kerry) moment for her ambitions. MOVE-ON THAT!

trackbacked and linked the ol'fashioned way

The above hissed in response by: Rovin [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 24, 2007 10:43 PM

The following hissed in response by: Pam

Thank God the Bill got done, and before Memorial Day. They didn't have the nerve to go home for this holiday and leave our troops in the field, unfunded.

Dafydd, thanks for keeping on top of this and thanks for the uplifting and positive vibes.

Christ's Peace and Blessings to you this holiday weekend and for always.

The above hissed in response by: Pam [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 25, 2007 7:40 PM

The following hissed in response by: Pam

Dafydd, did you see Drudge's latest headline. He's reporting a troop cut for next year. You said you think the Gen. will have good news and we can begin withdrawing troops. Does Bush know something we don't know or do you think this is some kind of leak to spoil any potential good news and say it was planned all along regardless; you know the old song, let's declare victory and leave. Or do you think Bush sees handwriting on the wall that we don't see. What's your take, I am curious.

The above hissed in response by: Pam [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 25, 2007 8:54 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


I saw the articles; but I also remember what Sherlock Holmes called the cardinal sin of detection: speculating beyond the data.

I think we have known from the very beginning that President Bush never intended us to occupy Iraq forever; the intent was always to get the country ready to defend itself, then slowly withdraw, perhaps leaving behind a smallish force from which we could strike at other Middle-Eastern countries (hint: I and S) and also to discourage adventurism from Iraq's neighbors (hint).

There are three overarching possibilities:

  • We are victorious in driving al-Qaeda out of Iraq and convincing the majority Shia not to ethnically cleanse the Sunni (victory); in this case, we would withdraw troops from Iraq.
  • We drive out al-Qaeda, but the Sunni and Shia in Iraq collapse into actual civil war, instead of the gang warfare we see now (a tie); in this case, we would withdraw troops from Iraq.
  • We fail to drive out al-Qaeda, Iran sends Hezbollah into Iraq in response, and the two terrorist forces take over the country (defeat); in this case, we would withdraw troops from Iraq.

You see the dilemma in trying to deduce what is actually happening from the datum that we're likely to withdraw troops from Iraq within the next year or so...


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 26, 2007 2:57 AM

The following hissed in response by: Pam

Dafydd, thanks for the info. I should have thought it through. I love the way to reason things out. I'm so glad I found this site.

Christ's Peace and Blessings to you!

The above hissed in response by: Pam [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 26, 2007 7:45 PM

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