GOP Incumbents Between Rock and Hard Place.

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Pres. Bush wants our soldiers to fight Iraq's civil war with them. Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has a vested interest in seeing the numbers of our soldiers fighting his battles grow, not decrease. A very large number of Iraqi's believe a lot of the violence is due to America's presence in Iraq. If, however, our presence is reduced, then al-Maliki becomes the person to blame for violence, not the Americans.

This is why the Prime Minister is quoted in the NY Times as saying: "The security plan has been a dazzling success during its first days." But this "success" which Bush and al-Maliki refer to, is anything but success. When the police launch a raid on a criminal gang only to find the gang has left the premises to whereabouts unknown, do we call that a successful raid?

That is precisely what is happening in Baghdad. This "success" al-Maliki refers to is troops entering areas of Baghdad only to find that the parties to the civil war have gone incognito or left the premises entirely. The absence of violence confrontations with Iraqi-American troops is not due to their capture and disarming them. It is due to their moving their weapons and themselves to other locations to fight another day, very possibly in another location.

The Bush - al-Maliki alliance have a common objective: keep Americans fully involved in this Iraq civil war. Each for differing reasons. Al-Maliki's reason is to keep his people's blame on the Americans (which of course means more American casualties as well), and Bush's now obvious reason is to pass this war on to another President so that he can feel absolved of the consequences for the outcome. Neither Pres. Bush, nor Prime Minister al-Maliki have the interest of the safety of our soldiers as a priority. They both are acting as if our soldiers are expendable pawns in a political game of mutual personal benefit.

Our Congress is divided on the Resolution to disapprove of the escalation of America's involvement in Iraq. Though the House passed the resolution, this afternoon, the seven Senate Republicans who joined the Democrats in calling for an end to the Republican filibuster, were not enough and the motion fell four votes short of the threshold needed under Senate rules to bring the Resolution to an up or down vote. The vote was 56 to 34. A majority, but, 60 votes were needed to end the filibuster.

A majority of the American people, and now as we see, a majority of the Congress, oppose this escalation of the war in Iraq sending more of our soldiers to fight Iraq's civil war with them. But the politics are such, that the majority will of this nation will not prevail on this issue. The escalation will go forward. Clearly though, the days of some of the Republican holdouts are numbered.

If the escalation does not produce sustainable results that permit the U.S. to draw down both its numbers and casualties in Iraq by the end of summer, the public pressure to unseat them in the next election will be overwhelming. Those Republican holdouts will have a decision to make in the Fall if the escalation does not meet its goals; either join with Democrats in cutting funding for the civil war involvement of our troops, or prepare to step down from office in the '08 election as well as impede the Republican presidential candidates chances of winning the White House in a reverse coattail effect.

Politically speaking, the quagmire of Iraq will come home to roost in the Congress in the Fall. A damned if you do and damned if you don't scenario is shaping up for Republican incumbents. Vote with the Democrats and lose the support of their base, or hold out for higher American casualties and lose the independent and moderate voters of their party. Such is the nature of wars with no victorious exit. We have seen this before in Korea and Viet Nam.

The 800 pound gorilla in the room which no one wants to talk about is the fact that this civil war could be over in less than a week if the President would unleash the full power of our military on Baghdad and al-Anbar Province. But, President Bush is unwilling to give our military that green light to win the civil war in Iraq, because the consequences of wholesale slaughter of the populations in those areas, would result in condemnation of the U.S. and Bush personally for decades to come.

But, let's be clear. It is the President's decision preventing our military from victory, precisely because a military victory would be an international and diplomatic defeat for America for years and years afterward.

And it is a number of Republican incumbents who are supporting the President's direction. Thus, Republican incumbents find themselves in a political quagmire of their own. Take note of the seven Senators who voted to rebuke the President's course of action. You may want to mark as keepers in '08, John W. Warner (Va.), Chuck Hagel (Neb.), Norm Coleman (Minn.), Gordon Smith (Ore.), Olympia Snowe (Me.), Arlen Specter (Pa.) and Susan M. Collins (Me.). Sen. Warner is the former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. These Republicans are not guilty of fostering an escalation in Iraq and putting our soldiers in unnecessary harm's way.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on February 17, 2007 3:22 PM.

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