Bush Foreign Policy Runs Aground - Ditched By NeoCon Supporters
"I think we may well have some kind of presence there over a period of time. But I think the level of activity that we see today, from a military standpoint, I think will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."
--Dick Cheney, on Larry King, one year ago today
(Hat tip to Terry Welch)
While Bush touted over the weekend his accomplishments in spreading democracy throughout the Middle East and southern Asia, his soul mates amongst the neoconservative community, who pushed for the global war on terror and Iraq as an outgrowth of the PNAC grand plan have finally had second thoughts. Some are finally questioning any commitment to democratization before basic security is established and Al Qaeda directly addressed, and some go even farther to reconsider whether a war on terror has a greater priority that getting our own house in order first on energy and the fiscal costs of such a war. In other words, these folks who trumpeted the war in Iraq as part of some messianic crusade to remake the region in our image before defeating the Taliban first and Al Qaeda and their supporters, are now sounding the same policy as that advocated by John Kerry in 2004.
To see the American Enterprise Institute bemoan Bush’s failed execution and question his commitment to his Wilsonian rhetoric actually discredits the Danielle Pletkas of the world, who were cheerleaders for this war for a decade and who now suddenly wake up to what we on the center-left have known about Bush for years: he is a fraud who sets fire to things and leaves to others the job of cleaning up after him. And the damage to the region, our military, and our country from these eight years will not be fixed for another decade. Want proof? Take a look at Bush’s first two claimed “successes, one of which sees renewed bombings and the loss of another 50 Iraqis just today.
After yesterday’s attacks in Iraq, which claimed the lives of CBS personnel, the Pentagon announced this morning that it was sending the main reserve force for Iraq from Kuwait into the Sunni Anbar province to stop the region’s downward slide into Al Qaeda control. The move tosses aside any optimism that there may have been over the possible reduction in American forces this year and any claims by Bush that things are getting better in Iraq. The story notes that Zarqawi, a man Bush let get away more than once, is now in control of Ramadi, a fact also confirmed now by a first-person account from Time Magazine. The coalition of the willing can sense the nightmare, and both Italy and South Korea are now leaving before the end of the year. And the Brits continue to see signs of disintegration in southern Iraq. Even the Iraqis have grown inpatient with our excuses for killing civilians and foot-dragging from the Pentagon, and are now launching their own investigation of the Haditha killings last November.
A day after the worst violence in Afghanistan in months, caused by American recklessness in Kabul, well-regarded expert Ahmed Rashid says that the people of Afghanistan have lost confidence in America due to our broken promises about security and economic reconstruction. Rashid points out that the Taliban has retaken control of southern Afghanistan, and is threatening to not only destabilize all of that country, but to also reignite the problems between India and Pakistan, and make any attack by the US against Iran deadly not only in Afghanistan, but in Iraq as well. This comes at a time when the NATO forces in Afghanistan were deployed in peacekeeping missions, not to refight battles that Bush walked away from years ago, and those countries are reconsidering their role in Afghanistan.
The neocons are peeling away from Dear Leader, and are now even reconsidering the basic pre-emption and regime changes tenets of Bush policy. Yet I don’t hear any of them sending out warnings about not attacking Iran. When that happens, then I will know that the end is upon us for the Bush foreign policy. Iran, for its part, is smart enough to know when to cut a deal and get the best terms for itself, as they signaled today that they will reenter discussions with the EU on solving the dispute over their nuclear program, safe in the knowledge that such a move scores points for them and makes it certain that the UN will not approve hard sanctions against them, while they consolidate their position with neighboring states.
The net effect of these failings overseas is now manifesting itself here at home, as Bush and the GOP have lost their edge over Democrats with voters on national security. Sure, there are numerous reasons for this, but clear ineptitude and gross error and mismanagement, coupled with mendacity of a high order makes the prospect very real that Bush will no longer have the support of his base or the rubber-stamping of Congress next year to perpetuate his criminality any further.