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The Republicans Lost Iraq

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Message Cenk Uygur
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Saying the Republican Party is responsible for losing the war in Iraq sounds overly partisan. Under normal circumstances, I'd be a lot more worried about how we are going to salvage Iraq, then which political party should be blamed. But these are not normal circumstances.

First, Iraq is irreversibly lost - so there will be no salvaging it.

Victory is a long lost goal. In fact, at this point, the problem is much deeper than that. If you read my articles on Iraq over the last three years, I have consistently made an effort to offer constructive solutions all along. But now there are no more solutions.

As Fareed Zakaria pointed out in his last column in Newsweek, there were two consecutive days in Baghdad recently where we protected the Mahdi Army one day and fought them the next. We are alternately protecting and fighting the Shiites and the Sunnis. We are clearly caught in the middle of a chaotic civil war. It is impossible to "win" in this situation.

Furthermore, training the Iraqi army is a complete waste of time. Everyone on the ground knows that they are not going to stay together and magically enforce a democracy in Iraq after we leave. All we're doing is training one or more sides in an internal fight. In a best case scenario, we're wasting our time. In a worst case scenario, we are training people to kill each other better.

And as I have pointed out before, if you think we won't have to one day fight the Iraqi army we are now training, you haven't paid any attention to our history in the Middle East. Simple logic dictates that in a country where an overwhelming majority of people believe it is appropriate to attack our troops, the army of that country will naturally be hostile to us one day. And our big plan is to make sure that army is trained before we leave? That's an awful plan.

The situation in Iraq has devolved so much that Muqtada al-Sadr taking over has gone from a worst case scenario to a best case scenario. Before we were rooting for Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani to serve as a moderating influence (re-read that sentence to understand how ridiculous our original plan was). We were concerned that Sadr would stir up the masses and seize power in the streets. Now, the situation is so out of hand and Sadr's minions so out of control that we are hoping that Sadr can corral them and avoid blood-drenched anarchy in the streets.

So, Iraq is lost. The Iraq Study Group, Pentagon suggestions, Bush conclusions are all irrelevant. We are whistling past the graveyard. The longer we stay now, the more panicked our exit will be. I can hear the helicopters now.

The second thing that makes this situation different than a normal foreign policy issue is that the political situation in America is so badly skewed now. The right wing spin machine has been so dominant for so long that only a colossal failure by the Republican administration opened up the eyes of the electorate. Of course, it has not done likewise for the media yet. In the wake of the historic 2006 elections where the Democrats swept the Republicans out of power, the media is still talking about how the Democratic win was actually a victory for conservatives.

And in the wake of these elections, the main discussion on television was whether to add troops to Iraq! Are they nuts? How gullible or complicit do the media have to be to interpret these election results as a mandate to add troops?

Why are we even having this discussion? Because the mainstream media loves John McCain and can't get enough of his terrible ideas. And because they have been spun by conservative talk show hosts into thinking that the American people have an appetite for a larger commitment to the Iraq War. We are assured that more troops might need to go in before they can come out. Sure. And George Bush is a compassionate conservative.

After the election, anyone who suggested going into Iraq with more American troops should have been laughed out of the room. Instead, it has been one of the most discussed ideas in the last couple of weeks.

So, I am concerned that if we don't get out ahead of it, the media will soon be spun into thinking that somehow the Democrats were responsible for the military defeat in Iraq.

Let's get this straight - once and for all. It was a Republican president, a Republican administration, a Republican Senate, a Republican House and entirely Republican government that started and lost the war in Iraq. No excuses. They screwed this thing up entirely. It is 100% their fault.

Now that we have lost in Iraq, I think the country would be better off listening to the Democrats on how to extricate us from this mess. But I will not stand by and watch Democrats get blamed for losing Iraq when Iraq is already lost.

Why am I so adamant about this? Is it because I am a lifelong Democrat and an incurable partisan? No, I was a Republican until Bush invaded Iraq. My party loyalty has been to the Republicans for almost my entire life. No, it must be made clear that the Republicans lost Iraq because if it is not clear, the country might be deluded into believing them again.

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Cenk Uygur is host of The Young Turks, the first ever live, daily web television talk show. The Young Turks are on XM Satellite Radio 8-9PM ET (XM 167, America Left) and on Sirius Left 146. The Young Turks is one of the Top 100 You Tube Partners, with over 18 million views a month on (more...)
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