Sunday, June 19, 2005


(picture stolen from J.Marquis of "Are We There Yet?" at )

The following is from that bastion of the "liberal media", U.S. News and World Report. Thanks to Fred from Truth Serum for the link to this article. You might enjoy his blog as much as I do! You will find it at !


Hit by friendly fire:

With his polls down, Bush takes flak on Iraq from a host of critics--including some in his own party

By Kevin Whitelaw

Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel is angry. He's upset about the more than 1,700 U.S. soldiers killed and nearly 13,000 wounded in Iraq. He's also aggravated by the continued string of sunny assessments from the Bush administration, such as Vice President Dick Cheney's recent remark that the insurgency is in its "last throes."

"Things aren't getting better; they're getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality," Hagel tells U.S. News. "It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we're losing in Iraq."

That's strikingly blunt talk from a member of the president's party, even one cast as something of a pariah in the GOP because of his early skepticism about the war.

"I got beat up pretty good by my own party and the White House that I was not a loyal Republican," he says. Today, he notes, things are changing: "More and more of my colleagues up here are concerned."

Indeed, there are signs that the politics of the Iraq war are being reshaped by the continuing tide of bad news. Take this month in Iraq, with 47 U.S. troops killed in the first 15 days. That's already five more than the toll for the entire month of June last year. With the rate of insurgent attacks near an all-time high and the war's cost set to top $230 billion, more politicians on both sides of the aisle are responding to opinion polls that show a growing number of Americans favoring a withdrawal from Iraq. Republican Sens. Lincoln Chafee and Lindsey Graham have voiced their concerns. And two Republicans, including the congressman who brought "freedom fries" to the Capitol, even joined a pair of Democratic colleagues in sponsoring a bill calling for a troop withdrawal plan to be drawn up by year's end.

"I feel confident that the opposition is going to build," says Rep. Ron Paul, the other Republican sponsor and a longtime opponent of the war.

The measure is not likely to go anywhere, but Hagel calls it "a major crack in the dike." Whether or not that's so, the White House has reason to worry that the assortment of critiques of Bush's wartime performance may be approaching a tipping point. Only 41 percent of Americans now support Bush's handling of the Iraq war, the lowest mark ever in the Associated Press-Ipsos poll. And the Iraq news has combined with a lethargic economy and doubts about the president's Social Security proposals to push Bush's overall approval ratings near all-time lows. For now, most Republicans remain publicly loyal to the White House.

"Why would you give your enemies a timetable?" asks House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. "[Bush] doesn't fight the war on news articles or television or on polls."

Still, the Bush administration is planning to hit back, starting this week, with a renewed public-relations push by the president. Bush will host Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari and has scheduled a major speech for June 28, the anniversary of the handover of power to an Iraqi government from U.S. authorities. But Congress's patience could wear very thin going into an election year.

"If things don't start to turn around in six months, then it may be too late," says Hagel. "I think it's that serious."

Bush's exit strategy--which depends on a successful Iraqi political process--got a boost last week when Sunni and Shiite politicians ended weeks of wrangling over how to increase Sunni representation on the constitution-writing committee. Now, however, committee members have less than two months before their mid-August deadline. And given how long it took to resolve who gets to draft the document, it's hard to imagine a quick accord on the politically explosive issues they face.

Snave's note: I had the pleasure of listening to Ron Paul on C-Span recently as he spoke about his opposition to the Iraq War. Listening to him caused me to believe that the state of Texas doesn't just turn out bad politicians... there are some thoughtful ones down there. At least there's one, anyway (Rep. Paul). Knowing that the "freedom fries" fellow is working with Paul also seems like good news.

I don't like the fact that we are in Iraq, because I don't believe we belong there and that the nation was misled into the war by the administration. On the other hand, I don't want to see Iraq left in complete chaos with a sudden, complete withdrawal of our troops. I think we need to ride it out just a bit longer to see if things can actually get better, but personally I wouldn't give it more than another 3-6 months, tops. If things stay about the same or start getting worse... start a gradual process of bringin' 'em home.

Of course Bush will hang on to his war like a bloody tick. I believe there is no way our troops will be withdrawn from Iraq as long as he remains in office. If for no other reason, they will stay there due to his stubborn pride... he never admits to mistakes, after all. Which may, in the end, be his biggest mistake.


Blogger Unadulterated Underdog said...

In the last year or so, I've developed a continually growing respect for Hagel. He seems to be moving further and further into reality-based terrority and has been standing up to the White House more and more often. I'm glad to hear it but worried that the fundies might try and take him out soon as a punishment for standing up to their God-Emperor.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Damien said...

It was pretty odd, I keep hearing Hagels name well at least someones got the Cajones to front up to this. Iraq on the brink of civil war - excuse me but it is a civil war!

3:03 PM  
Blogger Lizzy said...

I think as time goes on in this illegal war, we are going to see more Repubs like Hagel come out of the woodwork. One by one, their consciences will return.

8:01 PM  
Blogger Donald said...

I like the idea of polishing turds. If it looks like a turd and smells like a turd, it's usually a turd. From what I hear about the war in Iraq, it closely resembles a turd. In order for Americans to accept a turd, it should at least be polished nicely, and maybe dressed in pleasant attire. Appearances are what seem to matter most in America, so if the turd is made to look nice, people might forget about how much it stinks.

11:21 PM  
Blogger Sheryl said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Sheryl said...

I was just thinking....

The turd in the White House frequently spews out things that smell fishy. Does that mean he's a bass turd?

Cough, sputter. File that in the stupid jokes folder.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

I always knew there was something slimy about him...

Your joke was better than mine, which was merely an expansion on yours!

Discussing the sliminess of fish turds does fit in this weblog, though.

1:02 PM  

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