May 07, 2004

Petition Follow-Up

A follow-up to the Petition to Dismiss Secretary Rumsfeld that is.

Tom DeLay responds in his predictable exclusively partisan refrain, namely dismissing any criticism of his party as “partisan”:

“Democrats want to win the White House more than they want to win the war,” DeLay said. “We can’t let them think for one minute that their elected leaders aren’t behind them 100 percent.”

Sen. Christopher Bond, R-Mo., a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called the Democratic broadsides a “blatant, overt political attempt to undermine the president by attacking the secretary of defense, even though these premature attacks may embolden the enemy and hurt morale.”

Now I will leave readers to their prior knowledge as to whether Rumsfeld is a beacon of hope to our troops.  But I can tell you one thing that would hurt morale: seeing the heinous actions of a handful of soldiers, either left egregiously unsupervised, or worse, fully supervised, set them all back immeasurably in the war of ideas- turning Iraqis against them at the moment their cooperation is most desperately needed.

That same Knight-Ridder article quoting DeLay also notes the following:

If Rumsfeld is forced out by political pressure, Washington’s heretofore stubborn insistence on directing Iraq’s occupation unilaterally also could change, because Rumsfeld’s opposition to sharing power with the United Nations and others would be open to reconsideration. Rumsfeld’s departure could shift the balance of power within Bush’s national security team toward less confrontational figures, such as Secretary of State Colin Powell, a frequent opponent of Rumsfeld.

Enter Friedman:

We are in danger of losing something much more important than just the war in Iraq. We are in danger of losing America as an instrument of moral authority and inspiration in the world.

If Friedman’s excellent piece misses or underemphasizes anything, it is that this is no longer just a matter of long term “Prestige” or “Standing in the world,” it is about salvaging Iraq, and doing so now.  And as it has become clear that June 30 will be a date of “partial sovereignty,” and that the US will still have an immense role, it is a matter of vital importance to our ability to steward the transition that we be trusted, and that we distance ourselves as much as possible from these abhorrent tactics and the policies that, directly or indirectly, led to them.  DeLay can speak of partisanship and morale, but it is clear that he has done nothing but attempt to use our troops and the WoT generally as a means to solidify GOP control.  Democrats favor winning this war, and saving the lives of our troops.

For an extended elaboration from someone far far more qualified than I, read the transcript of John Murtha’s press conference with Nancy Pelosi in our original post on the petition.

Kevin Drum and Josh Marshall also comment.


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