Kicking the Can

blogging, Bush Administration, Congress, Iraq War

Michael Abramowitz writes at WaPo:

The long-awaited testimony this afternoon of Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, once seen as a potential turning point in war policy, seemed more like an exercise of kicking the can down the road.

Wow. How … expected.

Appearing before two House committees, Petraeus confirmed that 30,000 U.S. troops could be withdrawn from Iraq by the middle of next summer, but that was hardly unexpected: Officials have been forecasting for months that the so-called surge would have to end no later than April 2008 or there would be unacceptable strains on the American military.

But Petraeus left the larger questions — what will be the future size and mission of the American “footprint” in Iraq — unanswered. He offered hints that the reductions might continue beyond next summer but said he would not be able to offer a definitive judgment until March.

“Our experience in Iraq has repeatedly shown that projecting too far into the future is not just difficult, it can be misleading and even hazardous,” Petraeus testified.

Well, so much for that. Sen. Harry Reid has released this statement:

“Today, we heard that the Bush Administration likely intends to keep at least 130,000 troops in Iraq through next summer. Our enemies around the globe gain great advantage by having the United States mired in an Iraqi civil war. Clearly, continuing to pursue the President’s flawed escalation policy until at least July 2008 is not in the national interest of the United States.

“U.S. national security requires that we truly and immediately change course in Iraq, so that America can more effectively dedicate our resources to other, more pressing challenges we face across the globe. The longer we keep over 130,000 troops in Iraq, the less incentive Iraqis have to engage in the needed political reconciliation and the longer we avoid dealing with several pressing threats to our national security: Bin Laden remains at large and his terrorist organization has rebuilt its strength to pre-9/11 levels, Afghanistan’s stability is being undermined as the Taliban and narco-traffickers grow in strength, and Iran and other countries and groups pursue the acquisition of nuclear weapons technology.”

The Senate Dems also released a fact check that’s worth a look. See also Think Progress, “FACT CHECK: Petraeus To Withdraw Troops Next Summer Because Of Broken Military, Not ‘Progress.’”

Meanwhile, the Right Blogosphere is still hyperventilating over the ad. Howard Fineman is on Countdown right now saying that the GOP is whipping up outrage over the ad as a way to go on offense against Democrats. They can’t go on offense against the Dems on the war, you see, so they have to grab whatever phony issue they can. All day long rightie bloggers have dutifully jacked up the pitiful victimized whining act, sometimes to genuinely hallucinatory degrees.

And, of course, not one has actually addressed the facts Moveon presents in the ad.

Macranger predicts “this is most likely the day that puplic opinion for Democrats begins a nose dive from which they will not recover before 2008.”

Every Democrat candidate for President who has taken money from which now have to answer to the American people. They’re not going to denounce or any affliliation [sic] with any other leftwing nut group. They’re bought and paid for and they know it.

Of course, this is the same guy who wrote in April 2006 that “the pure and simple fact is as I told you this is going to be a vindicating summer for supporters of the Bush Administration.”

If anything, I’d think association — they aren’t affiliated — with Moveon helps the Dems, because it might remind people that some Dems really are against the war and the Bush Administration. If Dem popularity sinks after today it won’t be because of Moveon. It’ll be because the Dems didn’t push back against the Bushies and the war hard enough.

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  1. Bonnie  •  Sep 10, 2007 @9:35 pm

    With the exception of seeing the ad on the internet, I haven’t seen the ad any where else. I wonder where it is playing. It’s hard to get outraged at something, so far, unseen. I don’t remember Republicans taking down ads that offended those of us on the left. But, what I do remember is that several of the really nasty ads did help Democrats get elected.

  2. Swami  •  Sep 10, 2007 @10:57 pm

    Move-on is the only one who’s got the balls to touch the sacred cow. Bush has been holding America hostage with his precious troops and it’s good to see that somebody can take a swipe at Bush’s sacrosanct shield. I applaud Move-on’s courage and wisdom in placing the ad in the fashion they did.

    And ole “we weep and we mourn” Bush has as much love and respect for our troops as Joe Stalin had for his troops. Bush is not capable of sincerity. Remember his correspondents dinner routine…”They’re not under here!” Ha ha ha.

  3. sniflheim  •  Sep 10, 2007 @11:16 pm

    They’re like a football coach who’s been so successful to date he can’t stop running the same old plays. Well the analogy breaks down because the (allegedly) opposing team isn’t stopping them, I admit. But still, this is just good enough to keep them losing. Not wiped out but still losing.

  4. Erin  •  Sep 11, 2007 @10:21 am

    Do the rightie bloggers even know why they find the ad offensive anymore? THIS is what makes Dem popularity nose-dive? A bad pun on Petraeus’s name?

  5. Madison Guy  •  Sep 11, 2007 @10:47 am

    Petraeus is just another footnote in the Forever War that started six years ago: Beauty, unfathomable loss and the beginning of the Forever War.

  6. r4d20  •  Sep 11, 2007 @11:19 am

    I think the ad was indeed in poor taste and, although I’m no mind reader, was negatively received by most americans.

    My father, a former Coast Guard officer who does NOT support the Iraq war, reacted like “He took the same oath that I did and it really pisses me off to see these guys call him a traitor”. He disagrees with Patreus but he believes the general to be a man of integrity who is going to say what he truely believes, right or wrong, and finds the notion of calling him “Betray us” or that he is just a “tool of the Bush administration” to be an unwarranted smear.

    Its an emotional reaction at heart, but I think its the reaction that will be common.

  7. felicity  •  Sep 11, 2007 @2:13 pm

    I couldn’t sit through the Patraeus/Crocker outing yesterday so my question may not apply. Hasn’t everybody been saying, including most military types, that the solution to the Iraqi ‘problem’ is an Iraqi political settlement? So why are we focusing on the success or non-success of our military operations in Iraq?

    Wasn’t the point of the ‘surge’ – a 15 month-long surge is hardly a surge – to create a safety zone around the Iraqi ‘government’, which apparently has happened, so it could begin governing? It hasn’t so shouldn’t the lame-brains in charge be planning and talking about a different tactic? The faux-government doesn’t need a safety zone, its individual ministers etal need the huge profits they’re making off the status quo cut off yesterday.

  8. Swami  •  Sep 11, 2007 @2:59 pm

    So why are we focusing on the success or non-success of our military operations in Iraq?

    Because Bush structured his dodge to focus on Petraeus..Petraeus wrote the book on counter-insurgencies, so who better can understand the insurgency in Iraq than Petraeus?
    For some reason I’m reminded of something I read on a bar napkin years ago that might apply to Bush.

    You have only two thing to worry about.
    Whether you live or whether you die.
    If you live, you have nothing to worry about.
    And if you die, you only have two things to worry about.
    Whether you’re going to heaven or whether you’re going to hell. If you go to heaven, you have nothing to worry about.
    And if you go to’ll be so busy saying hello to all your won’t have time to worry

  9. Ian  •  Sep 11, 2007 @4:54 pm

    rd240, why on earth would anyone assume that Patreus is a “man of integrity who is going to say what he truly believes, right or wrong”? Do you or your father somehow find it physically impossible for a general to be a weaseling politician? If so you don’t have very much experience with the politics of high command…

    My brother is an army officer that is an absolute credit to the uniform, really lives the values that officers are supposed to live, and he will probably never make General. He’s stood by his men too often, passed up to many opportunities to kiss political ass in order to get the job done. In short, because he DOES have honor, loyalty, dedication … he’s not enough of a politician to make it beyond bird colonel.

    And if you recognize that it’s possible for some Generals to be just as bad as the worst politician born … how on earth could you expect W *not* to FIND that guy that’ll do whatever he’s told, and install him in Patreus’s job? After all he’s done, don’t you recognize how utterly out of character it would be for bush to appoint somebody in that slot that would be competent, independant, and uncorruptable?