I believe that one of the inherent problems for the Democratic party is that they all too often allow the Republicans/Conservatives/Neo-cons to frame "the message".
Case in point - Congress' bills between the House and the Senate to pass the 'emergency' funding legislation for the "wars" in Iraq & Afghanistan. Even the Democrats and the media continue to refer to the debacle in Iraq as "the war".
LISTEN UP PEOPLE, I'M GONNA SAY THIS ONE LAST TIME...
We are NOT at war in, with, or against Iraq!
That conflict happened in 2003 and Mr. Bush stood on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and proclaimed that we won that war. We're not at war. IF we were at war, THEN we'd be able to truly have a dialogue about victory & defeat, success & failure, winning & losing. But we are NOT at war and those concepts do NOT apply.
What we have now is an occupation of a foreign country. The United States is occupying the country of Iraq as the Iraqi people are in the midst of a civil war between and within themselves. We should not even allow the White House and the Republican shills to frame the message in terms of winning or losing the war. Instead, the real message 'frame' is whether we continue to occupy this foreign country or do we work to give Iraq back to the Iraqis?
Not just an occupation
Pulling combat troops out of Iraq is only a portion of the problem. There are hundreds of thousands of contractors in Iraq who are simply taking jobs away from the Iraqi people. There are military bases we've established to retain a permanent presence which should also be dismantled. And, there are efforts underway to undermine the control of Iraq's oil industry and literally steal the revenues away from the Iraqi country & people.
These production sharing agreements are a clear example of the rich, multi-national oil companies raping the Iraqi people. It flies in the face of every argument the Bushies made to counter the claim that we were going into war with Iraq to steal their oil. Make no mistake about it - this whole conquest of Bush's was blood-for-oil. Put another way, it was the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent people... for profit. The Bushies aren't interested in 'winning' the war. They're interested in prolonging the occupation. In doing so the Military-Industrial-Complex (Bush's friends) continues to rake in the profits.
So from now on, don't call this a war. It can't be won or lost. There is no victory or defeat. There can be no success or failure. This is an occupation, and it needs to end.
Scott Shuster is a progressive columnist, publishing since May of 2005. His liberal ideology is a refreshing diversion from 'politics as usual' in Washington.