Re-Framing The Iraq Debate: Why Does The GOP Want Iraq To Be The 51st State?
As I said in earlier posts, the GOP game plan is to smear Democrats who advocate for a withdrawal timeline as “surrendering”, “defeatists”, or “cut and run” artists. As has been documented elsewhere, Bush is acting back like his “Mission Accomplished” self of late, with a sense of cockiness about the prospects of Victory in Iraq that seemingly are shared by his Edgar Bergen vice-president, who has once again claimed that the insurgency is in its last throes. And all of this is due to the killing of a man and his replacement by any number of people whom the Administration can’t agree on, and who celebrated their taunting by Bush with the butchering of two of our soldiers. It’s another “bring it on” moment for Bush.
Democrats need to remind Americans that while they are being smeared this fall by the GOP for “cutting and running” from Iraq, it is the Bush Administration that is retreating from Iraq into a permanent bunker in Baghdad staffed by Iraqis scared to reveal where they work. It is the Bush Administration that is seeing its allies leave Iraq. While Bill Frist smears Democrats, he and the rest of the GOP have no solution of their own for bringing about political stability in Iraq except for permanent occupation and years of brute military force against the Iraqi people, all at the expense of the American military and taxpayers. Perhaps Democrats, as Robert Dreyfuss comments today, should stop talking about Iraq as a neo-con “mistake” and instead tell voters what the debacle may truly be: an intended outcome designed for the projection of American power in the region for years to come at an incalculable cost.
Due to the ineptitude and timidity of the Beltway Democrats, we have never had a debate in this country about whether or not the American public supports the Bush Administration’s plans to make Iraq the 51st state, as James Fallows so astutely noted years ago. But with the construction of the multi-billion dollar military garrison in Baghdad, and other permanent bases in the country, at a time when the public is saying they want to see the end in sight for our occupation in Iraq, it is possible for Democrats to effectively challenge the GOP’s schoolyard bullying with a challenge to the voters: do you support making Iraq the 51st state and draining our treasury and military to do it, or do you support stabilizing the Middle East and letting the Iraqis get on with their new lives?
It’s that simple.