“ 'S A DAMN SHAME WE REMAIN”
Or, Changing the Debate on Iraqi
Unless the shape of the debate changes soon, it looks like the earliest our troops will realistically be allowed to hope for getting out of the mistake known as Iraq is the day Bush is removed from office or whatever day the amoebas in Congress finally grow a spine. Unfortunately, the Democrats have allowed themselves to be foolishly boxed into a “debate” defending against the assertion that anything ending the fiasco is somehow not “supporting” the troops.
Bush and his NeoCons have once again conned the nation into a non sequitur. What the anti-Iraq quagmire activists need to do is change the question. How to do that? Are there any challenges or demands that can be made (besides the obviously useful impeachment alternative) that might assist? Actually there are several in which Bush’s own rhetoric can be successfully used against him. How about:
ALTERNATIVE 1: LET’S VOTE.
Yeah. I know. We thought we already did last November. But, apparently it was not explicit enough on the question of Iraq. If so, it would be pretty easy to organize a special election, a national plebiscite solely on the subject whether to (a) leave now or (b) stay until our soldiers run out of blood or our treasury runs out of money, whichever comes first. Consider it as a national No Confidence Vote which European nations have turned into a proud and useful tradition. Let’s ask Bush and Cheney to resign if they cannot persuade a majority of the voters that Western Civilization itself is riding on us staying in Iraq forever. If he truly has confidence in what he is telling us, ask him why not put it to a vote?
Of course, since we already know Bush is totally opposed to democracy here in the States and is too cowardly to really debate the subject, that will never happen. (In fact, it might even prove counterproductive given how Bush’s minions like the owner of the Diebold voting machines seem to magically achieve voting totals which defy logic and evidence when there is no paper trail to check against.) BUT, Bush does loudly and frequently claim he’s at least for spreading “democracy” in the Middle East. So, let’s let the Iraqis give us the purple finger as to whether they want us to remain.
Why should Bush consider agreeing? He can continue pouring our assets down that rat hole until the end of his term assuming he is not removed by impeachment. On the other hand, he seems to be starting to worry both about his “legacy” and has good cause to worry about post term investigations. Frankly, it’s a perfect solution for him. If the Iraqis vote to keep us as their guards, he wins the debate and can blunt criticism of him. If they vote for us to get out, he then has cover to pretend whatever later disaster happens is all the Iraqis’ fault, not his own massive bungling.
If Bush won’t consider an Iraqi vote or if the civil warring factions there would not allow it, how about demanding a UN General Assembly vote in which we agree not to exercise a veto and to abide by the result? Once again, Bush who surely knows he has already lost the war assuming he can read the reports from his own generals, can shrug his shoulders and say “Well, I would have won, but I wasn’t allowed to do so.” Legacy saved, at least in his own mind.
ALTERNATIVE TWO: MAKE IT ALL VOLUNTEER TROOPS.
Bush claims he “supports the troops” and touts the “all volunteer” army with which he likes to play toy general. While it is not true if almost everything learned about missing armor, extended tours, poor vet care, rotten salaries, and literal rotten food, etc. is accurate, nevertheless, let’s insist he make Iraq an “all volunteer” mission. It used to be a tradition that when you sent troops on suicide or dangerous missions, volunteers were called for. If Bush believes so much in the mission, he can truly “support the troops” by saying they don’t have to go to Iraq unless they feel the same way.
Normally, in a real war, that would not be a good idea, but most of our other wars have been fought for valid reasons in which there was a real and present danger from something other than tin pot dictators we had put in power ourselves or a covetous desire for resources like oil. Consequently, let’s give our boys and girls a choice as to whether they want to die in Iraq for Bush’s ego, particularly when they are being asked to do so at a salary one-fifth what the Bush and Cheney are paying Blackwater private mercenaries to do the same thing.
No doubt it will cost substantially more to bump soldier salaries sufficiently high enough to persuade them putting Iraq oil in Halliburton pockets is worth dying for. At the same time, wouldn’t a significant increase in enlisted man compensation finally show some genuine “support” for the troops instead for the empty words Bush has been so fond of mouthing?
Better yet, how about initiating a draft of all those who voted in favor of the Iraq war starting with Bush’s military age offspring? That way, we would not even have to raise salaries. They wanted the war, they get it.
Naturally, Bush will fight such a proposal, but in doing so it once again exposes him for the utter hypocrite he is and shifts the focus on which the issue is presently stuck.