Thursday, January 25, 2007

How is Bush Getting Away With It?

A super-majority of Americans opposes the surge. A majority of the Senate opposes the surge. A majority of the House opposes the surge. Combat veterans, retired Generals, and other military experts oppose the surge. Most who supported a surge, supported a much larger surge.

George W. Bush is sending 20,000 more Americans to war in a misguided attempt at rescuing his legacy. As Republican Senator and Vietnam veteran Chuck Hagel said, "There is no strategy. This is a ping pong game with American lives."

Why can't we stop him?

Here's a comment about the neocon reaction to Hagel's criticism of the surge:

Senator Hagel's impassioned plea was refreshing and I don't know if I've ever seen a politician speak with such candor and passion. His Vietnam experience, as well and true conservative principles, were shining through.

In the past week Hagel has (1) claimed that the GOP is not the same party as the one he voted for on a tank in the Mekong Delta in 1967, and (2) made an almost tearful plea to his colleagues that to fail to honestly debate the "surge" when so many lives are at stake is to "fail" the country. While this is refreshing and entirely in line with the foundations of this country, what's troubling is this veteran's comments, rather than sparking a true debate, seem to have started a movement to purge him from the party and cut off his funding.

Like true Machiavellians, they are cutting off the head of the flower that dares to stick its head up, to set an example and quell any other "rebels."

So it looks like the "surge" plan is rapidly growing into a "purge" plan: you either agree with it or we remove your command and even accuse you of treason. You ask for a debate, claiming that you don't doubt the President's motives, and we develop a Loyalty Oath against you.

What's this Loyalty Oath he's talking about? This one:

If the United States Senate passes a resolution, non-binding or otherwise, that criticizes the commitment of additional troops to Iraq that General Petraeus has asked for and that the president has pledged, and if the Senate does so after the testimony of General Petraeus on January 23 that such a resolution will be an encouragement to the enemy, I will not contribute to any Republican senator who voted for the resolution. Further, if any Republican senator who votes for such a resolution is a candidate for re-election in 2008, I will not contribute to the National Republican Senatorial Committee unless the Chairman of that Committee, Senator Ensign, commits in writing that none of the funds of the NRSC will go to support the re-election of any senator supporting the non-binding resolution.

Greenwald has the perfect response, from Theodore Roosevelt:

The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole.

Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile.

To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.


CyberKitten said...

Great post JA.

But to answer the question: How is Bush Getting Away With It?

Simple. He has the power to do whatever he feels to be right. Can anyone stop him?

Your quote from Theodore Roosevelt is outstanding.

LT said...

How is he "getting away with it"?

He is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. He has the sole discretionary power to move troops where he feels necessary, so long as he can pay for it with the money apportioned by Congress.

Armies are not (and cannot) be run by consensus. They require a clearcut chain of command, with the President at the top. We do have the power to change that, but only once every four years.