Russ Feingold, Senator
There may be a significant future loss to the country from Senator Feingold’s decision not to run for President, but at least there is consolation the Senate immensely benefits from his professionalism, intelligence and political acumen now, as two actions of his last week perfectly illustrate.
The first is that Feingold astutely introduced a total withdrawal from Iraq (July 1, 2007) resolution to the Senate Armed Services Committee, and like so much of good political maneuvering it was effective (as much as reality allows) in what it did not do.
It did not instantly generate virulent contempt and loathing from the Army and Marine Corps General Staff, two rather useful allies when attempting to retreat from a war theatre.
[Proposing “phases” for retreat means that a) one has a total grasp of what reality exists in the theatre and b) one has the delusional arrogance that once retreat starts reality, events and particularly the enemy will happily go along with the “phases”—the fact that the enemy massively abandons risk and constraint now that you’re retreating is a piffling little detail, never mind. It is precisely a scenario for your soldiers desperately try to find an arm that's been blown off as they scream in a total bedlam of hellish loss—a scenario that could have been avoided if someone hadn’t been so stupid for telling the enemy how and when one was going to retreat.]
Feingold did not go to the New York Times for news of his resolution. When, for the love of baby Jesus ensconced in the altar of the American credit card, when will our Senators learn that The New York Times reporters are dangerous, manipulative chumps? That paper has deliberately squelched earth-shaking scandals (NSA), published extremely dangerous fantasies that helped take us to disastrous war (Judith Miller), and is notorious among media watchers for endlessly employing gross hacks (Seelyle, Gerth, Nagourney).
Feingold understands that the media environmental is extremely hostile and filled with traps. The last thing a politician should do is enable a publication with access and quotes when all that paper has done is knife Democrats and liberals for ten years.
Feingold did not undercut his party leadership with his resolution. By not having the arrogance in trying to move set conventional wisdom he didn’t trap them into something unrealistic or dangerous expectations that were impossible to meet.
After Feingold’s dignified, realistic, astute, careful, deliberative resolution introduction he then did something useful and tangible given the extremely limited options available after that cringing horror show in the Senate Armed Services Committee last week. He correctly identified and criticized the lying monster Abizaid, General Abizaid, United States Army.
Abizaid knows full well his very own men and women are trapped in a hopeless tactical and political situation, but he made a disastrous professional mistake many years ago by subverting his professional duty to political allegiance of the Republican party.
He cheered the start of the war on and confidently expressed total confidence we would “win.” The result has been an utter disaster of horrifying proportions that has been screamingly obvious for years, but Abizaid will not speak the truth that the US has lost in Iraq and cannot win, whatever the hell those nebulous goals of “winning” were.
Abizaid said more troops were not needed, but never anything substantive to what was needed to “win.” Just more of the incredible delusional confidence that things will work out if we greatly enable the insane hell of Iraq even more.
It is one thing for a bumbling politician to slaughter our soldiers and the people of other nations because they’re ignorant and unthinking. It is quite a world of another when a United States Army General, responsible for tactical command and the lives of his soldiers, hides the truth for political reasons after he has so obviously failed.
That, in all the foul disgusting acts of that committee hearing, was easily the most dangerous and offensive, and it also happened to be the singular political development that a Democrat could do anything about: speak the truth to failure, lying, and the grossly offensive tactic of obfuscation and enabling that results in the maiming and death of our people for nothing but lies.
The United States will have a chance to end the nightmare of Iraq when lying Generals who sacrifice their men and women for political reasons are gone. It was the only possible, politically tactical response from a Democrat and thank God we have a real one in Senator Feingold.