Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Dems Are Screwed

The premise of this post might seem a little odd, given how many of our GOP friends were recently shown the door. This fact is essentially a vote of no confidence in our government's leadership in Iraq, which is for many people, the ONLY issue.

Iraq is a boondoggle of epic proportions. We have opened Pandora's box. It's pretty clear that what we've been doing has been bad, but there's no obvious solution, either. The sentiment of America at this point seems to be, well, cut and run. The failure in Iraq has unquestionably brought tremendous political gains for the Dems at this point in time. But in the long term, the destabilization of the middle east can only bring public sentiment back to the Republicans.

At first glance this may seem like a counterintuitive conclusion. But there are several things to remember:

1) Many Americans equate the war on terrorism with the war in Iraq
2) Future terrorist attacks against this country are likely
3) The American populace has a short memory

So, what does the future hold? Anti-American sentiment in the Middle East is as strong as ever. Another terrorist attack on the United States seems inevitable. When this predictable future act of terrorism occurs, the pendulum will always swing towards the GOP.

After 9-11, the Republican administration capitalized on fear of terrorism to create unthinkable power in the executive branch at the expense of civil liberties and privacy. We, the citizens, mutely allowed this to happen, satisfying ourselves with such rhetoric as "if you aren't breaking any laws, then what do you have to hide." They generated broad public support for the war that most people now believe was a gigantic mistake. It is only recently, as the American body count tops 3,000 and we see only deterioration, that sentiment has shifted away from the war.

But what happens the next time we are attacked? It will be 9-11 all over again - except this time, the GOP will say "we told you so." Whatever happens will be blamed on Iraq, which is already considered a new breeding ground for terror. So consequently, the GOP can blame the Dems decision to pull out of Iraq (or to not send more troops, or whatever we do) for the attack.

My point boils down to this: Iraq is screwed. There is no good outcome, whether we stay or go. But the change in policy that is happening now (as a result of public sentiment) will be attributed to the leadership of the Dems. So the next time something bad happens, the GOP will blame the Dems' Iraq policy.

Of course, this is ridiculous. Iraq is screwed no matter what we do. But the average citizen has a short memory, fears terrorism, and believes that "an eye for an eye" is a great way to exist in the world. So the next time our backs are against the wall, the GOP just pulls the Iraq card - blame the dems for cutting and running, we told you so - and it's back in the high life again for the GOP.

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