Hubert Humphreys of the Right
Wrong Information Given out in New Hampshire
Rudy Giuliani maintained during the Republican debate that “It’s unthinkable to leave Saddam Hussein in charge of Iraq and be able to fight the war on terror.”
If he means by “war on terror” the counter-terrorism struggle against al-Qaeda and kindred groups, then it was in fact unthinkable successfully to fight them and also invade Iraq. The US occupation of a major Muslim Arab country has reinvigorated al-Qaeda. It has drawn major resources away from counter-terrorism. It has delivered millions of Iraqis into a maelstrom of terrorism. There was never any operational cooperation between al-Qaeda and Saddam.
McCain said, “”When Senator Clinton says this is Mr. Bush’s war, that this is President Bush’s war — when President Clinton was in power, I didn’t say that Bosnia, our intervention there was President Clinton’s war . . . When we intervened in Kosovo, I didn’t say it was President Clinton’s war.”
But the situations are not the same. Clinton did not mislead us into those conflicts. They were, moreover, limited in scope and fit the Powell doctrine. After enormous numbers of lies and misstatements, after deviousness and the outing of an undercover CIA operative, after over four years of ineptitude and pigheadedness, this is Bush’s war. It isn’t mine, and I resent McCain trying to make it mine. He can have the miserable thing if he wants it. I fear he will find that some albatrosses make it hard to keep your head above the water.
Romney blasted Democratic Senate Majority leader Harry Reid for allegedly having said that “the war in Iraq is lost.” He added, “Harry Reid was wrong. We did not lose the war in Iraq. And that’s not the sort of thing you say when you have men and women in harm’s way.”
Romney has not the slightest idea what is going on in Iraq.
Gen. Rick Sanchez, in contrast was a commanding officer in that theater. He admits that the US cannot win in Iraq. The best it can hope for, if it does all the right things politically and economically, is a stalemate. If you don’t win, you lose. And, by the way, Reid had said exactly the same thing, that military victory is impossible and that only a political settlement has any chance of success.
On Iraq, the leading Republicans don’t have a clue, and don’t seem to realize that they are making themselves Hubert Humphrey electorally. (Ron Paul gets it on Iraq, but he is not a contender.)
The Karl Rove doctrine that when you dig yourself into a ditch, the best strategy is to dig deeper, has finally met the test of reality-based politics. It isn’t going to be pretty.
These guys got away with these hawkish fantasies because they bamboozled the poor evangelicals into believing they would support public morality, and bamboozled poor conservatives into thinking they would uphold small government. Instead, they are hitching their wagons to a multi-trillion dollar quagmire abroad and don’t give a rat’s ass about evangelical values.
They will lose because their base is disheartened. They will lose because even their base hates this Iraq stuff. They will lose because their base will stay home in droves.