Conservative pundits are sinking trying to defend their policy on Iraq, and telling everyone who is still senile that everything is coming up roses and everything is going to be OK if we just "believe". (This from the same folks who say liberals have their heads in the clouds.)
By any measure, we are losing in Iraq, and the White House is completely disconnected from reality. (These, by the way, aren't my words--they came from Chuck Hagel(R).) Just what is working in Iraq? Economic growth? Public opinion? Violence levels? No, the reality is that the only thing that Bush has succeeded in is the creation of the largest welfare state in history, and an unfortunate growing complacency of casualty counts and atrocities.
President Bush, fresh from his surprise visit to Bahgdad,(which he had to sneak into three years after "Mission Accomplished"), is still telling his followers to "stay the course". The problem comes when you ask any of them, ANY OF THEM, to explain what the hell "stay the course" means. As far as I can tell, it means that we will keep our troops in Iraq either indefinitely, or until whenever the chaotic, pathetic excuse for a government decides it wants to actually start governing. In other words, Iraq is in charge of when our troops return home.
Far from the spin "cut and run", Democrats are asking what every sensible person in America is asking, or ought to be asking: What are the objectives, the clear benchmarks, that need to happen for our troops to return home? Some Democrats say we need to set a deadline to wean the Iraqi government from dependence on our military to provide for them; others say we need to set clear objectives for the Iraqi forces to meet so our troops can stand down. But either one is a much stronger position than the GOP stance--to ride lockstep behind our failed commander-in-chief for an open-ended commitment of our troops indefinitely with no strategy to bring them home.
Amazingly, the GOP is even balking at an amendment that the Senate Democrats are introducing this week as an amendment to a military policy bill that pledges this year will be a year of "significant transition" toward an independent Iraq.
Too strong? Let's not get carried away now...