And it will
It's amazing to me (and to a few others-- too few) that the massive post-mortems and hand-wringing and soul-searching underway amongst a thousand conservative pundits and talk-artists per square mile of America do not, on the whole, appear to have picked-up on the biggest message of both the election results and the post-election dismissal of Donald Rumsfeld. It is a message which has not escaped members of the United States Military, however. And here it is:
Today, every single soldier clearly understands that we are now on the path of leaving Iraq. Elections have consequences, we accept that, we understand that. Our “collective memory” from the 59 year old sergeant that served in Vietnam to the young 18 year old private tells us that we are counting the days until April 30, 1975...from Oak Leaf at Polipundit
The thought that will occur for every soldier today in Iraq is “Do I want to be the last man to die on the way out?”
The thought that will occur for every military family who has lost a brother, sister, mother or father in Iraq is that they have sacrificed for nothing.
The thought that will occur for every veteran who has left part of their body in Iraq is that they gave for nothing...
Today, every soldier in SW Asia became a “short timer” and they all know it.
Read it all, and weep.
And from Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive[James Hanson, retired Special Ops Master Sergeant, writer on military, foreign policy, intelligence matters]
During a mid-term election that turned into a referendum on W's leadership overall, and in Iraq especially, he stands tall and says Rumsfeld will stay out the rest of his presidency. Knowing full well that this will alienate some of the moderate Dems and Repubs who support the war on terror, but wonder about Rumsfeld's prosecution of it. So these folks decide enough is enough and take their frustration to the only place they can voice it, voting the bums who support Bush out and a Dem majority in...Whammo.
Having profoundly screwed the pooch and ensured we will have to fight harder here than Baghdad to win the freakin' war, he surrenders to his new Democrat overlords and throws them Rummy's carcass to gnaw on. IDIOT!
...this screws our troops. W may still be C[ommander] in C[hief] but Nancy Freakin' Pelosi is in charge of his allowance...
I'm done, W is dead to me...
Read and listen, far and wide, and you will discover that almost nobody “gets it.” There are exceptions. David Warren is one: see “Abandoning Iraq” at his website, to be followed by “Sunk” in an upcoming Western Standard. Ralph Peters gets it at the New York Post, and outlines a solution so bold and stark that you know it will never be tried.
It’s fun (and it’s also wise) to snort about being “afraid, very afraid” of the Pelosi Pack (see below), but the unspoken fear beneath this election now needs to be spoken loudly: that by pasting together this Hamilton-Baker Commission of realpolitik specialists to hash out an Iraq strategy, and pretending that Rumsfeld wasn’t a goner until after the election [an election that, had we been privy to the firing beforehand, might not have been entirely lost in a wave of disgust], the President has telegraphed to us that he intends to extract himself from Iraq while offending as few people as possible in the immediate term of his remaining political career—those people, of course, not including either the purple-fingered Iraqis nor the American military personnel, living and dead, who have eaten the desert dust for the past three years, to no particular end.
Rumsfeld had to go—some time. Three years ago would have been good, and any time since then. Before the election it would have been a signal of resolve to admit failures and correct them—Bush would have been accused by Democrats of trying to manipulate the election with an October surprise. So? They’ve accused him of creating a war ex nihilo to further his quest for world domination—why should he be getting all sensitive now? And what’s wrong with trying to win over voters by changing policy? This is a crime? This is “impure”?
The firing immediately after the election shows that the move was (a) already in the making, all those excessive and unnecessary public claims to the contrary notwithstanding; and (b) a political stupidity of the highest order, giving the appearance of weakness under pressure, surrender, and zero grasp of even the most rudimentary realities of public perception-- as always, Mr. Bush is the recipient of some of the worst political advice in the history of advice. Karl Rove, far from being, or ever having been, a genius, has underperformed again, even worse than in ’04.
And the President appears to have noticed. In every single sentence uttered at his press conferences of the past two days he has used the same inflection, that of “scolding” mode. He’s pissed, about all sorts of stuff. And he’s taking little digs at his “architect” now that the cracks in the foundation are getting too obvious to ignore. This will be of ongoing interest to the political classes. But in the end it doesn’t matter. Rove’s basic job, winning elections, is finished. The President, however, has many other jobs, and he needs to re-prioritize them, away from conventional thinking about “legacy” and back to real issues of “leadership” and “history.” At this juncture, neither of these is promising to look kindly on him.
Mr. Bush consistently fails to notice advantages when he has them—in this case, the truth is the Democrats dare not be in the seat of power with hand on the helm when Iraq implodes completely, so Bush could have appointed a tough-minded SecDef on the “moderate Republican” McCain or Giuliani model-- or some other unexpected model that a man with political smarts might have been able to genuinely surprise us with-- and then dared them to thwart him. But if Bush leads the way toward a “peace with honor” slink out the back door, the Democrats will be only too happy to accommodate him—and screw what ensues.
Typically for him, Mr. Bush has conducted this major policy move completely in secret, and, without waiting to consult the new Republican congressional leadership (which might have proven more astute than the outgoing crew), has selected yet another Texas crony to fill the new void. Bob Gates is probably well-qualified on paper, if what you’re looking for is somebody who got along well with compromisers like James Baker and Brent Scowcroft, but for many of us he’s just too much a Harriet Miers or Scott McClellan clone. Mr. Bush has gone to the “trust me” well several times too often, and I for one no longer wish to accompany him there.
"Trust me" is, of course, the sole and entire content of the Democratic "plan" for Iraq. And the lemmings are following them to the well in droves.
The news this minute reports that Bush made "conciliatory" noises towards Madame Speaker Pelosi today at lunch. What does he have to be conciliatory about? Did he call her stinking-rich, tight-faced, California cow? 'Cause I think she's called him a reckless, lying incompetent. Where's her conciliatory noise?
Cue the helicopters for the embassy roof run. May my son not be at the throttle when it happens.