...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Monday, December 15, 2003
      ( 12:57 PM )
All Is Well With The World

Thank God. President Bush has saved the world - or so you might think if you'd watched any cable news television yesterday. He was riding so high on his victory of catching Sadaam (when will we see the pictures of Bush in some uniform holding the severed head of Saddam in one hand and doing a thumbs-up with the other?) that he even dared a press conference this morning... where he deftly tossed aside questions on whether maybe now he'd be able to show he wasn't lying about WMDs:

He also suggested the capture would not be
much help in substantiating U.S. charges
Saddam was developing the unconventional
weapons Bush had cited as a major reason for
war. Bush said the ousted leader had no credibility.

Which leader had no credibility? Well, despite republicans and conservative news pundits' hyperventilating over what they believe is an almost assured re-election in 2004, they might not want to speak so quickly. Juan Cole, Middle East Expert at University of Michigan, has very good insight:

The Sunni Arab insurgency will continue at least
for a while (see below), and the possibility that
the Shiites will make more and more trouble
cannot be ruled out. The US military is stuck in
the country for the foreseeable future at something
approaching current troop levels. The move to
give civil authority to a transitional Iraqi government
may not go smoothly. The administration will
have to ask Congress for another big appropriation
for Iraq sometime before the '04 election, and that
won't help Bush's popularity. The Iraqi economy is
still a basket case, the oil pipelines are still being
sabotaged or looted, and a whole host of everyday
problems remain that having Saddam in custody will
not resolve. If Iraq is still going this badly in October
of 2004, it would be a real drag on the Bush campaign.
Yes, I said "this badly." One arrest doesn't turn it
around, except in the fantasy world of political theater
in which pundits seem to live.

He goes on to talk about how Democratic candidates have got to stop coddling the public and being afraid of Bush's attack dogs. We saw it all over the news, especially with GOPers repeating that if Dean had been president, Sadaam would still be in power. Well, if Dean or anyone else besides Bush had been president, we might have actually turned our attentions and money towards the actual terrorist threats and the well being of our own citizens, we might have cultivated international relationships that would have put enough pressure to dethrone Saddam or get rid of him some other way. This victory dance is taking place on a fragile glass dance floor, and I think the administration and its spokespeople in the news might want to be a bit more careful. Cole goes on:

But in the coming year the Democratic candidates
just have to take off these kid gloves. I'd begin by
asking some hard questions about Republican
administrations' past relationship with Saddam.
Put that photo of Rumsfeld shaking Saddam's
hand in 1983 in the commercials; ask hard questions
about former Reaganites now serving in the
Bush administration who supported Saddam to
the hilt while he was gassing Iranian troops and
Kurds; find out who authorized the US sale of
chemical and biological precursors to Saddam;
and be so rude as to bring up the horrible betrayal
committed by Bush senior when he stood aside
and let Saddam massacre all those Shiites in 1991,
after they rose up in response to a Bush call for
the popular overthrow of Saddam. The US military
could have shot down those helicopter gunships
that massacred Shiites in Najaf and Basra. Bush
senior clearly told them to let Saddam enjoy his
killing fields. And imagine, the Bush administration
officials are actually getting photo ops at the mass
graves their predecessors allowed to be filled
with bodies!

What happened Sunday was that the Republicans
captured a former ally, with whom they had later
fallen out.

The American public has proven its ignorance more than once since this president took office (witness the almost 80% who believed Iraq had something to do with 9/11) - they will do so again with this situation unless the Democratic candidates are willing to speak the truths above and continue to emphasize the cost this war has been to this country, not the least of which includes the lives of hundreds of American citizens.

Yay, they caught him. He can't come back. Now what?

(thanks to DKos for the link)

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