Democrats Should Not Shy Away From This Debate
1. Yes, there are other issues like hanging Bill Frist out to dry with five nutcase judicial nominees before the election, but that is a sideshow.
2. Yes, we will make stuff up about the Democrats and smear them because the media keeps letting us.
3. Yes, we were wrong when we said Saddam had WMDs.
4. Yes, we were wrong when we said Saddam had a role in 9/11 and was assisting Al Qaeda.
5. Yes, thanks to my mistake, Iraq is a haven for terrorists when it wasn’t before.
6. Yes, because of this breeding ground I have created, we have to stay there until I say so, spending over $100 billion a year and squandering our troops in a civil war.
7. Even with this record of failure, you have to keep trusting me and not question me.
8. If you do question me or call for a change in course, I will crush you and question your patriotism, morality, and intellect, and label you as someone who wants to quit before the “mission” is done, even though no one can say clearly any more what the “mission” is. And not only will I smear you, my surrogates will do so also, the same surrogates who have lied and shown moral and intellectual confusion of their own.
The Democrats should say:
Mr. President, with such a record of failure so far, you no longer get a free pass anymore.
There will be bipartisan support for General Casey’s 12-18 month commitment of continued American support for the Iraqi security effort. In the meantime, a Democratic Congress next year will require that National Guard units be returned home in early 2007 to focus on their primary homeland security mission.
To help Prime Minister al-Maliki’s reconciliation effort, a Democratic Congress will pass and send on to you a “no permanent bases, no permanent troops” bill next year.
To help the Iraqis’ stand on their own and gain the infrastructure and regional security necessary to fulfill Step Three of General Casey’s three-step plan, a Democratic Congress will require the White House to convene through the UN a regional security and economic development conference next year under existing UN resolutions, so that the international community and more importantly Iraq’s neighbors gain a stake in making sure Iraq succeeds as an independent state.
To fully support Iraq’s efforts to take full control of its own security by the end of 2007, a Democratic Congress will require the White House to seek international assistance and troops to close Iraq’s borders to insurgent support from neighboring countries.
As to our alleged moral and intellectual confusion, or our alleged willingness to quit before the mission is done, from this point on we will remind the voters daily that:
-it wasn’t our administration that told staff in the minutes after the 9/11 attacks to find a connection between Saddam and the attacks;
-it wasn’t our administration who ignored Al Qaeda in 2001 until it was too late;
-it wasn’t our administration who let Bin Laden get away at Tora Bora or let al-Zarqawi get away multiple times;
-it wasn’t our administration who quit Afghanistan prematurely to focus on Iraq;
-it wasn’t our administration who ignored contrary intelligence about Iraq’s WMD programs or managed a strategic information campaign to sell a war of choice to the American people;
-it wasn’t our administration who sent too few of our soldiers into Iraq without necessary protection or intelligence;
-it wasn’t our administration who ignored warnings from more knowledgeable people about the perils that have since befallen your grossly-mismanaged occupation;
-it wasn’t our administration that allowed Abu Ghraib and similar practices to undermine our support inside Iraq;
-it wasn’t our administration who ignored Iran’s offer of a broader relationship and assistance against Al Qaeda four years ago;
-it wasn’t our administration who turned its back on Syria’s assistance in tracking down Al Qaeda crossing into Iraq;
-it wasn’t our administration that supported the Dubai Ports World deal; and
-it wasn’t our administration that to this day that places political opportunism ahead of terror investigations to the detriment of catching terror suspects through thoroughly effective and legal means.
Telling voters that Bush and Rumsfeld need to look into the mirror for the moral and intellectual confusion Rumsfeld speaks of would be a good place for the Democrats to start. If the White House and the GOP Congress want to play hardball, then as Val Kilmer’s Doc Holliday said in “Tombstone”, I’m your huckleberry.