The war on Capitol Hill
Arguments in Washington over the war in Iraq continue unabated, in spite of President Bush's long-overdue scolding of the most extreme war critics on Friday. So why did Bush wait so long to respond forcefully to the barrage of accusations heaped upon him? According to polipundit.com,
If he had simply responded to individual accusations all along, any attempt to point out motives would be seen as personal attacks on his accusers. To instead take on the broader issue, that those backing down from the commitment they made when they voted to authorize the war are doing so as a coordinated political strategy, he exposes Democrats who have chosen political gain over the interest of the country and the troops.
Whether reasonable people in the middle will find that sufficiently convincing remains to be seen. In today's Washington Post, E. J. Dionne heaps scorn upon Bush's "bad faith" and concludes, "By linking the war on terrorism to a partisan war against Democrats, Bush undercut his capacity to lead the nation in this fight." To this, I would respond that "bad faith" is a two-way street: "By making opposition to the war on terrorism the central element of their partisan war against Bush, the Democrats have abdicated their responsibility for sharing in the governance of this nation." For the uncomitted skeptics in the middle, it's a coin toss. To be scrupulously fair, I would grant that Bush exaggerated the extent of intelligence information that was available to Congress prior to its vote in October 2002. Bush also fell short in terms of securing legislative approval for the war: He should have asked Congress for a declaration of war against Iraq, not a mere resolution delegating to him the discretion. Had it been forced to assume such a weighty choice, Congress could never have subsequently shirked the responsibility for making the decision. Neither of those shortcomings can let the (brainwashed?) Democrats in Congress off the hook for voting the way they did, however.
Sen. Harry Reid said today, "It is time to take the training wheels off the Iraqi government" so they can learn to defend their own country. If our military effort there is such a complete failure, as he and his colleagues keep saying, then what makes him think Iraqis are ready to assume that burden? The only conceivable reason to pull out abruptly, as many are demanding, is to ruin any chance for a stable transition to self-government. Is that what they want?
I demand a recount!
According to the latest tally in the attorney general race by the Virginia State Board of Elections, Republican Bob McDonnell holds a lead of less than 400 votes over Democrat Creigh Deeds. The state is obligated to certify a winner by November 30, but the recounts may push that deadline back.