"'They expect to hear it from me--but when it's from you, it takes on a whole new meaning.'"
The speaker was Congressman Jim McDermott, (who was against the war before it was cool) telling BlatherWatch about a conversation he had with fellow House member, conservative Republican Wayne Gilchrest who broke with the Bush Administration last week, saying "American troops cannot abandon the Iraqi people, but the United States should have a timeline on when to pull troops out of Iraq."
The wheels are coming off public and GOP support for the war effort and the Administration is playing Wack-a-Mole with gathering scandals, McDermott said Saturday at a small private gathering in Seattle.
The Delay/Abramoff influence peddling got an indictment last week; the Karl Rove CIA agent outing, and the "coingate" scandal which could unseat the Republican Ohio governor, are simmering away in the hands of ambitious prosecutors.
Of course, to obfuscate things, the right is focusing on the shocking ads NARAL ran against Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. The confirmation, which even Democrats have said for weeks ago is in the bag, is the subject of many straw man erections (you know what we mean...) by Republican surrogates trying to change the subject.
(The dude is faceless, has a faint paper trail and even has given pro bono help to gays & lesbians. This last fact makes him more palatable to Democrats but hasn't seemed to faze the religious right who have apparently drunk the holy water on this guy spooned to them by Bush. Hell, maybe he is Jabba the Hut--nobody'll know for sure until it's too late).
Gilchrest told McDermott there were more Congressional Republicans "laying in the weeds" waiting for the right time to distance themselves from the war and trying to find a graceful way to avoid the oncoming tsunami of scandals.
"These guys are all going to [military] funerals and facing the families," McDermott said. "And they all know what bullshit they were fed leading up to this war."
Oblivious George, on the other hand, said Saturday in his radio address: "Iraqis are taking control of their country, building a free nation that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself. And we're helping Iraqis succeed."
Iraqi officials are struggling to agree on a draft constitution by a Monday deadline for an October vote. Chances of meeting that deadline look pretty remote at this point.
McDermott says, "They've got all the issues settled except for the Kurds and Shiites [who want special status], the role of Islamic Law and women's rights."
Those are some pretty big exceptions and that doesn't bode well for the sunny Administration predictions of Iraqi autonomy and stability to come like up like thunder across the bay after the magic bullet of a new constitution.
The insurgency has escalated--attacks on American troops in Iraq have doubled in the last month, going from about 40 attacks a day to about 80.
Last week was the fourth-worst week of the war for U.S. combat deaths and August already is the worst month for deaths of members of the National Guard and Reserves.
The Washington Post reports today that the Administration is "significantly lowering expectations" of what can be achieved in Iraq.
...the realities of daily life are a constant reminder of how the initial U.S. ambitions have not been fulfilled in ways that Americans and Iraqis once anticipated. Many of Baghdad's 6 million people go without electricity for days in 120-degree heat. Parents fearful of kidnapping are keeping children indoors.
Barbers post signs saying they do not shave men, after months of barbers being killed by religious extremists. Ethnic or religious-based militias police the northern and southern portions of Iraq. Analysts estimate that in the whole of Iraq, unemployment is 50 percent to 65 percent.
Frank Rich thankfully back from his vacation, writes in the New Times, today that the war is over:
A president can't stay the course when his own citizens (let alone his own allies) won't stay with him. The approval rate for Mr. Bush's handling of Iraq plunged to 34 percent in last weekend's Newsweek poll - a match for the 32 percent that approved L.B.J.'s handling of Vietnam in early March 1968. (The two presidents' overall approval ratings have also converged: 41 percent for Johnson then, 42 percent for Bush now.) On March 31, 1968, as L.B.J.'s ratings plummeted further, he announced he wouldn't seek re-election, commencing our long extrication from that quagmire.
But our current Texas president has even outdone his predecessor; Mr. Bush has lost not only the country but also his army. Neither bonuses nor fudged standards nor the faking of high school diplomas has solved the recruitment shortfall. Now Jake Tapper of ABC News reports that the armed forces are so eager for bodies they will flout "don't ask, don't tell" and hang on to gay soldiers who tell, even if they tell the press.
Meanwhile, Camp Casey, outside Bush's Crawford, Texas ranch continues to grow. The encampment, named after fallen Marine Casey Sheehan, whose mother Cindy invoked this outpouring by plunking herself down alongside the dusty Texas country road is inhabited not only by the usual lefty activists but also with growing numbers of parents and spouses who have lost sons and daughters, wives and husbands in George Bush's ill-conceived war.
Sheehan, despite being slathered in shit by the right wing press and bloggy moonbats, waits for a chance to speak directly to the President. And 60% of Americans polled believe he should give her that chance.
The longer he ignores her, the longer the impassioned opposition to this bloody failure by military families stays above the fold and in the face of the American people who need the large print sometimes to stay in the room.
Washington now does not expect to fully defeat the insurgency before departing, but instead to diminish it, officials and analysts said. There is also growing talk of turning over security responsibilities to the Iraqi forces even if they are not fully up to original U.S. expectations, in part because they have local legitimacy that U.S. troops often do not.
"We've said we won't leave a day before it's necessary. But necessary is the key word--necessary for them or for us? When we finally depart, it will probably be for us," a U.S. official said.
Bush has always been able to skate through the scandals and the fuck-ups. Always the optimists, we don't think he can do that forever.
And forever may be even nearer than 2006.