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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Showdown Over Iraq Funding Highlights Bush Hypocrisy

The Iraq war funding showdown is imminent. Dick Cheney came out shootin' yesterday (pun intended). "Some Democratic leaders seem to believe that blind opposition to the new strategy in Iraq is good politics," Cheney said of the October 1st deadline attached to the funding bill expected to be passed today. "[Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid himself has said that the war in Iraq will bring his party more seats in the next election... It is cynical to declare that the war is lost because you believe it gives you political advantage."

Reid's response has been edited down in most of the press. "I'm not going to get into a name calling match with the administration's chief attack dog," most are reporting him as saying. But he had more to say; "I'm not going to get into a name calling match with somebody who has a 9 percent approval rating," he added.

That had to hurt -- mostly because it's true. The administration is talking tough without ammo. A CBS News poll shows 66% disapprove of Bush's handling of Iraq. And when it comes to Bush's idea versus Congress's, the public is with Congress. Asked, "From what you have seen or heard about the situation in Iraq, what should the United States do now? Should the U.S. increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, keep the same number of U.S. troops in Iraq as there are now, decrease the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, or remove all its troops from Iraq?" 60% respondents answered 'decrease' or 'remove all.' Of all the options, 'remove all' scores highest with 33%. Bush's big surge plan is supported by only 21%, with 73% favoring options other than increasing troop levels.

They tried spinning this as 'Democrats aren't funding the troops,' but with Bush promising to reject the funding, most people seem to see that as the load it is. Not that that makes any difference to this administration. Like the Iraq war, they seem completely unconcerned with what would actually work.

President Bush Discusses Iraq War Supplemental, White House, 4/24/07 [emphasis mine]:

[I]nstead of fashioning a bill I could sign, the Democratic leaders chose to further delay funding our troops, and they chose to make a political statement. That's their right. But it is wrong for our troops and it's wrong for our country. To accept the bill proposed by the Democratic leadership would be to accept a policy that directly contradicts the judgment of our military commanders. I strongly believe that the Democrats' proposal would undermine our troops and threaten the safety of the American people here at home...

I'm sorry, Congress will pass the funding, you're going to veto it, and who 'chose to further delay funding our troops?' Then again, logic isn't really the president's strong suit.

Also fun is Bush calling on dems to heed the wisdom of military commanders. If Bush had taken that advice, we probably wouldn't have wound up stuck in Iraq.

USA Today, 6/3/03:

Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz criticized the Army's chief of staff, Gen. Eric Shinseki, after Shinseki told Congress in February that the occupation could require "several hundred thousand troops." Wolfowitz called Shinseki's estimate "wildly off the mark."

Shinseki was fired. And now, after it's far, far too late to correct the mistake of not listening to military leaders, Bush's troop surge is an admission that Shinseki was correct all along. And he thinks he gets to scold people for not listening to military leaders. Bush's problem is that he kept looking for people who supported his strategy, much in the same way that he kept looking until he found a reason to invade. The opinions supporting strategy has turned out to be as lousy as the intelligence prior to the war -- both were cherry picked.

Then again, hypocrisy in the Bush administration isn't any surprise. Like poor judgement, lies, incompetence, dishonesty, and general idiocy, hypocrisy's pretty much what we've come to expect from this White House team.

Which is why the people no longer trust him with the war he got us stuck in. And it's why the people want Congress to take it away from him.


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