Mixed Progress In Iraq, Dems Willing To Compromise

One thing that is maddeningly clear is that had Bush shown half as much competence in Iraq as he has in selling the Iraq War, it is very possible that we might not be in the jam we currently are in.  Indeed, as we get closer to the iconic Patraeus report, it is becoming clear that while some Republicans are willing to stray off the reservation, Bush’s efforts have prevented enough from swapping sides to make a filibuster motion questionable, and a veto proof proposal out of the question without compromise.

As a result, as Democrats plot their next move in trying to end the war, the word of the day is compromise:

With a mixed picture emerging about progress in Iraq, Senate Democratic leaders are showing a new openness to compromise as they try to attract Republican support for forcing at least modest troop withdrawals in the coming months.

After short-circuiting consideration of votes on some bipartisan proposals on Iraq before the August break, senior Democrats now say they are willing to rethink their push to establish a withdrawal deadline of next spring if doing so will attract the 60 Senate votes needed to prevail.

Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, said, “If we have to make the spring part a goal, rather than something that is binding, and if that is able to produce some additional votes to get us over the filibuster, my own inclination would be to consider that.”

Democrats would need to lure the 60 senators in order to cut off a likely Republican filibuster.

The emerging proposal by Mr. Levin and Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island, would still order the administration to begin pulling at least some combat troops out of Iraq, probably by the end of the year. It is not clear what other provisions the measure may include.

But Mr. Levin, who is chairman of the Armed Services Committee and who met Wednesday with Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, said a compromise may be worth making. It would allow Congress to assert its own voice on Iraq policy, after falling short of that goal in most such votes throughout the year, he said.

The willingness to consider alternatives represents a shift by Democrats and is a recognition of changing political and practical realities they face in grappling with Iraq and its future.

The “political and practical” realities are simply this; Bush has managed to, if not convince the nation, at least convince his Republican allies in Congress that the Iraq War itself is still worth fighting for.  But as Keith Olbermann notes, this is only Bush playing us for more time in his bid for an endless war:

Yes, boys and girls, it is just playing, political maneuvering to take the mess that is Iraq, and try and shine it up while everyone is looking so the American people will buy it off for at least a little bit longer. Had Bush applied this energy and passion to actually getting something good done in Iraq, than possibly we would be in a better position in the country, but instead what we have is mild political success in DC and pretty much failure everywhere else.

The Anbar Awakening is not as pure of a success as the administration would have us believe, political progress in Iraq is not merely a failure, it’s a pipedream, and even the military progress that is so touted by the administration rests upon a foundation of obfuscation which casts aside trend analysis and context and seeks to skew the numbers in as good a light as possible. Meanwhile, the stat that is probably more important in terms of true progress in Iraq is most definitely trending away from Bush’s case as we learn that civilian death’s in Iraq have not dropped, but indeed by some counts have gone up.

Even as the military and the administration are claiming there has been a significan drop in violence, particularly of the sectarian variety, experts are refuting or doubting this claim. This might be because in their calculus, the defenders of the war (and not, might I add, of our homeland, just to make that clear) have removed car bombs from the tally, and have decided not to call Shia on Shia violence (often times Sadr’s Mahdi army clashing with the more affluent SCIRI) sectarian violence. A move not unlike trying to make War Appropriation money disappear by simply not counting it towards our national defecit.

Even the Iraqi Army is still, four years after we disbanded the army already there, worthless.

So… How are these mixed results? From where I’m standing it looks like someone’s trying to shine a turd up pretty enough to pass as a daimond and not even doing so great at that. Given that Bush has long exhausted what reserves of trust with the American people he has long ago, I’m sure I’m not alone in this regard.

But Republicans in congress are still dragging their feet and their unwillingness to not be hypnotized by Bush’s song and dance is dragging the Democrats down with them. Again we find ourselves in a no win situation. With only minor gains in the Republican caucus, we are again forced to play a battle of numbers and compromises, which will ultimately result in Democrats feeling the ire of the American publica as well.

What’s it going to take? Bush bypassing congress and launching a unilateral war against Iran before the GOP finally stands up and throttles this President into submission? I really hope not.

3 Responses to “Mixed Progress In Iraq, Dems Willing To Compromise”

  1. xranger says:

    Citing Obermann (failed sportcaster) is like me citing Rush or O’Reilly. Wouldn’t that get your diaper in a bunch?

    Anyway, let me help you with the heavy lifting and give some positives:


    “The district had no formal Iraqi security forces two years ago. Now it has 1,400 Iraqi soldiers and 1,200 police. Both are commanded by two brothers from the Albu Mahal, a powerful tribe that initially fought the Americans but was one of the first to turn against al Qaeda.

    When the Marines go on patrol, it is now often under the direction of an Iraqi sergeant, something unheard of just a few months ago.

    Foreign fighters who once streamed in from the Syrian border seem to have vanished: Bohm’s Marines have encountered just one.”

    This is from the wild-west Anbar province. As I once told Goose, progress is good, no matter where it comes from. Once the Sunnis realized they did not want to live in the 14th century with Al Quaeda, they came across the wire.

    This post lists how the “failed Iraqi Army” is striving to improve:


    “A press release by the multinational forces said the coalition forces launched a new operation Wednesday evening against Al-Qaeda.
    Around 14,000 Iraqi troops took part in the operation with more than 12,000 US soldiers, the statement added.”

    As I’ve told you in earlier posts, the Dems have backed themselves into a corner on this war: years of gleeful negative reporting has made them the party of hoped-for defeat (but they suppprt the troops 🙂 )

    But, Americans don’t want to be losers. They want to leave this war with their heads up, without the Middle East boiling over. If the Iraqis cannot defend their borders, and remain a nation-state, what is to stop their neighbors from annexation?

  2. And what’s winning X? We’re back at that argument.

    Further, on Anbar, there are two things that must be taken into consideration. The fact that the Sunnis are simply teaming up with Americans to oust AQI which only accounts for about 7 % of the violence in Iraq in toto.

    But the bigger picture is that Anbar is for the most part a homogenous sector of mostly sunni insurgents. What this means is that for one, success in Anbar is not necessarily translatable throughout the country where the sectarian conflicts are under a higher charge. Sunni’s against AQI is a small deal compared to Sunnis vs. Shias vs. Shias vs. Kurds, and Anbar does not come close to solving that problem.

    As for winning and losing, I don’t care about the scorecard, at this point winning and losing is merely rhetoric, and tries to paint the entire conflict into as black and white of a corner as possible.

  3. xranger says:

    I did not refer to winning, because I do not look at this as a classic “win” situation. This is definately a lose potential.

    We’ve seen this type of religious-based violence before, especially in Bosnia. Took a long time to separate the factions and keep the peace, and it has that potential here.

    I look at this region as more important to the US than Bosnia was. That is why I stated that, “They (US populace) want to leave this war with their heads up, without the Middle East boiling over.”


  1. Iraq News…. | The Detroit Times - [...] Hullabaloo, Booman Tribune, The Next Hurrah, Democratic National Committee, The Democratic Daily, Comments From Left Field, Taylor Marsh, rochesterturning.com,…

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