Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Contrary to conventional wisdom, Bush did not lose last night because we're in Iraq, he lost last night because we're losing in Iraq.
There's a difference. America for the most part still supports Bush's goals in Iraq - getting rid of Hussein, giving people the right to choose their own destiny, establishing a democratic beachhead in the Middle East and all that other stuff.
What America doesn't like is losing. With the exception of the Cubs, we don't take to losers. We don't enjoy waging the 'good fight' if the outcome is a loss. We'd rather win dirty than lose playing fair. When the teams we root for lose, we demand change: we fire coaches, we bring in new players.
And America believes it is losing in Iraq.
A good part of this is due to Bush's refusal to give America a scorecard with which we can follow the action. As I've written before, not having a scorecard is much like hearing only that the opposing team has scored 20 points - without knowing how many points your team has scored, you don't know whether you should be celebrating or sulking.
The second reason we're 'losing' is because Bush - just like Johnson and Nixon did in Vietnam - has handicapped the military by putting in such restrictive Rules of Engagement that the military has had its hands figuratively tied behind its back.
Does anybody doubt that, despite Bush's protests that he is letting the generals fight this war, our troops don't have the freedom to operate as they see best? Our troops have to all but wait until they're fired on because the Administration doesn't want to deal with the bad press of civilian casualties. Even Garry Trudeau, someone I rarely agree with, has picked up on this. The Administration lets the Iraqis dictate our military tactics. The Administration mandates sensitivity training for everyone in zone because of the actions of a handful of bad apples (it's great for morale to tarnish everybody because of what a few have done).
And does anybody doubt that if our military didn't have to worry about having to justify their actions to some REMFs each and every time a mosque is taken out, that they were given the resources and the freedom to do what needs to be done that we would be winning?
And this is Bush's biggest failing as a President... he fails to do what he needs to do in order to achieve his goals. He wanted to go nation-building in Iraq... but failed to do what needed to be done. He wants (so he claims) to keep Iran from going nuclear... but has so far failed to do what needs to be done. And he claims he wants to keep America safe from terrorist attack.. but for the most part doesn't do what really needs to be done to make that a reality.
His failures... our losses.