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Soothing the National Conscience

VIDEO: Biden on “Meet the Press”
Part II: Biden on the troops

General Petraeus will give an
exclusive interview with Fox “News”
tomorrow after his presentation
to Congress. Drudge
blasted it
to the wingnut masses. One wonders what Joe Biden would say to
that. Like James Webb, no doubt Joe Biden is thinking what his son may face
in Iraq next year. It’s understandable. Biden’s passion on “Meet the Press”
was extraordinary, but he did not know the trap had already been laid. Petraeus
will team with Fox “News.” Little else need be said.

General Petraeus is on a mission from Mr. Bush. Unfortunately, you cannot simultaneously serve your men and women and a commander in chief who has lost his soul on the way to legacy. Petraeus has made his choice. Beyond, prepare to hear the betraying the troops charge dressed up by a president and his propaganda pack, none of whom has any honor and long ago showed their abject disrespect for our fighting men and women, using them as props while forgetting they are people with families and children and whole lives.

Who will stand up for our fighting men and women now?

The old stand by lines do not serve them. They’re used to make cowards out of us all.

The traditional role of the Senate no longer works, because we are being led by an Administration that is out for its own glory, no longer caring what’s best for our troops or this nation. Mission creep has turned into national security mayhem on the wings of arrogance.

I just wish Mr. Biden and other Democrats realized that it’s not about how
many votes we have or a veto proof majority. It’s standing up and fighting for an end to the carnage, and being counted on that score. Democrats helped get us into this mess and there’s only one way out and the choice is tough.
But at least Biden got some of it right.

Leading Democrats today pre-emptively assailed the expected findings on Iraq
due this week from Gen. David H. Petraeus as “dead, flat wrong”
and said President Bush’s likely call for continued patience in the
war would simply extend an “unconscionable” and “completely
unacceptable” policy.


“This president has no plan how to win and/or how to leave,”
said Mr. Biden, before whose committee General Petraeus and Mr. Crocker will
testify on Tuesday. He accused Mr. Bush of putting American troops “into
the middle of a civil war to maintain the status quo,” adding, “that
is unconscionable, and he’s wrong.”

Step Up Criticism of Iraq Findings

I disagree with Biden on the way to fight to end this war. Keeping funding
going for our troops in the field while we redeploy is one thing.
Biden said it himself. Bush already has the funds to keep the war going. Biden
talks about “protecting” the troops. The Catch-22 is that it’s only
a facade of protection. You give them vehicles, which I’m all for, but that
also empowers Bush further, while doing nothing to end the deaths. It also
infuriates the American people, because it betrays the trust they gave Democrats
last November. The truth is you can’t “protect” American troops stuck
in a civil war where they’ve become the mediators holding weapons as the Iraqis
kill one another. It might make Biden and others feel better by funding more
weaponry, but all it’s doing is assuring more soldiers are killed.

It’s a conundrum. But prolonging this disaster only makes us all more complicit. Then there’s waking up to see the ugly truth for what it is and having the spine to do something about it, especially since you caused it.

Biden and the other presidential candidates, as well as his Senate colleagues need to understand that Petraeus is going on Fox “News”
for a reason. No one believes Fox is anything other than the propaganda arm
of the Bush administration. Biden’s trust is traditional, but it is misplaced.
It’s also dangerous. Biden’s good will is also placed wrongly in General Petraeus,
which took me a long time to say, believe me, but once the general offered the evidence himself I had the duty to call him out. But it gives me no pleasure or comfort either. The truth in war seldom does, which is why people hide behind formalities instead of leading, especially after making a lethal mistake. But as fine a soldier as Petraeus is,
and he is that, the news last week proves that the statistics are cooked and
Congress nor the American people will get the truth. Petraeus has crossed a line into political propaganda. I recognize it. I lived through Vietnam. At the very least General Petraeus is playing along, “playing for October or November” just as his boss. As I said before (as did Paul Krugman), it’s
Colin Powell all over again only this time with malice of forethought; either that or Petraeus is delusional, which scares me even more; either way this must be stopped.

If we don’t have the votes
that truth will play out. But it sure as hell shouldn’t be because Democrats
were duped into trusting yet again or getting seduced that a traditional vote to “support the troops” is anything other than being once again complicit in the carnage many voted for in the first place.

It will likely take many months to withdraw, but it must begin. That’s the real courage required by the Senate. More soldiers will die. That’s the fate Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Kerry, Edwards and others assured when they voted to preemptively attack a nation that was not a threat to this country. They’ll have to live with that error the rest of their lives, but no one should compound it out of tradition to “support the troops” by keeping them longer in harm’s way of the raging Iraq civil war.

I fully understand Mr. Biden’s instincts, and the excuse that Democrats don’t have the votes. It’s cover, pure and simple. It takes swallowing a bitter pill, plus much courage to understand
that you long ago relegated U.S. troops to this fate. More funding may soothe the political conscience rooted in the traditional past, but it won’t heal the national conscience that has been torn apart by this travesty. Yes, more soldiers will die regardless of the vote, because this is Mr. Bush’s war and he has no intention of ending it. But trying to protect troops through funding vehicles is only a token
tourniquet that actually prolongs the misery and assures even more deaths and dismemberment out of traditional allegiance to a code no longer in play. Besides, the truth is that voting for this war in the first place assured the interminable end we’re now living. Democrats must muster the courage to stand in the face of horrific consequences of their own making, which
face us all either way.

There is no easy way out. There is a river of blood. We’re standing in it.

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