That's the Republican stand on the war in Iraq. It's like a mantra or, more accurately, a rapidly failing system of self-hypnosis. It's not what they say openly, but it's clearly what most of them believe.
The big Senate sleepover last night and, as I write, today has left Republicans a little open. They're almost certain to win this, since a veto of the debated Reid-Levin amendment is likewise certain. The Democrats had their 'can't lose' position before, but they let it go. There's no way that Reid-Levin, a very modest measure requires a troop drawdown -- not a withdrawal -- within 120 days will result in a drawdown in 120 days. It would take a miracle and I'm not a big believer in those.
On the other hand, Republicans are completely out of rhetorical ammo. In defending a war without purpose, they have no good arguments, only hollow and braindead talking points.
In a post titled 'Random Notes From The Senate All-Nighter,' dem activist and writer Bob Geiger lists what he calls a "Desperate Buzzphrase Count." "Cut and run" comes up often, along with variations such as "Retreat and defeat" and "Run and leave." "Follow us home" makes an appearance, as does "Embarrass the president" and "Embolden our enemies." I get the feeling that, if you switched their talking points sheet with a list of random words, you could get some sleep deprived GOPer to stand in front of the Senate and say, in accusatory tones, "Flap hammer elbow syrup! Juicebox Krazy Kat oatmeal fish!" The question is whether anyone would notice -- Republicans have been repeating this crap for so long, it's doubtful anyone's even listening.
The list of magic words from Republican Central doesn't work anymore and they've relied on them for so long it's beginning to look like they've forgotten how to debate. Or even make a valid point. That's what happens when you're not allowed to think for yourself, the brain atrophies.
But the real travesty here isn't the total lack of independent thought among the Republicans. The real travesty is that way too many of these people make vaguely antiwar noises at home, then vote in the opposite direction in DC.
In an editorial in The Capital Times titled 'GOP only talks against war,' the editorial board (and specifically Editorial Page Editor John Nichols) writes:
This war was begun on the basis of cynical manipulations of intelligence and plays on the fears of the American people.
The vast majority of Republicans -- especially those who try to sound anti-war while voting pro-war -- continue with the cynical manipulations and play to fear.
Democrats must call them on their hypocrisy. But Democrats can only do that by standing so firmly on principle that reluctant Republicans are exposed as two-faced liars who practice to deceive the American people while more brave and beautiful young Americans die in a war that ought never have been fought.
We've been told over and over that we have to wait for Gen. Petraeus's report in September before we take any action. We're told that doing anything else would be irresponsible. But here's a question -- how many reports that have delivered bad news have been completely blown off? How many committees and blue ribbon panels' recommendations have been completely ignored? We don't need to wait for Petraeus to know what the White House line will be -- if the report is even marginally hopeful, then we stay at war. If the report is 100% bad news, we stay at war. Waiting on Petraeus is just stalling while people die for no goddam good reason. Those 'brave and beautiful young Americans' TCT writes of don't have to wait anymore, they're pretty dead.
And the longer we wait, the longer the roster of the fallen becomes. Empty and stupid talking points aren't going to save any lives, all they do is delay and cost lives. I didn't stay up all night and watch the debate, but I'm pretty confident in saying that no one stood before the Senate and described what a 'win' would look like, how any strategy we're supposedly following would pan out, or how we could do anything at all different. 'Victory' and 'defeat' are just words, political ammo that fools use against their opponents. Republicans are for victory and Democrats are for defeat and that's all you have to know -- now shut up and eat your damned war. Thinking is for the weak.
No matter how this turns out, this all night BS fest, the prowar morons will have converted absolutely zero americans. Meanwhile, the antiwar numbers grow daily. They've got nothing and the longer they repeat their nothing, the more obvious it becomes.
Unfortunately, people die while the BS flies and that's exactly what the BS is for. It's the only purpose it serves.
ADDENDUM: Just as I was about to post this, the news came in -- Reid-Levin was defeated. Sometimes I hate it when I'm right.
Technorati tags: politics; war; Iraq; Senate; propaganda; Republican talking points kill