…is give war a chance.
A new group of prominent conservatives plans to begin a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign Wednesday to urge members of Congress who may be wavering in their support for the war in Iraq not to “cut and run.”
The group, Freedom’s Watch, is rolling out television, radio and Internet advertisements in more than 20 states and 60 Congressional districts.
Former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, the spokesperson for the group, offers their message: “the war in Iraq can be won and Congress must not surrender.”
It is amazing how Fleischer can, in one simple sentence, offer two concepts that are entirely inappropriate for the “war in Iraq.” I won’t even quibble with the fact that Iraq is not truly a war at this point. But Fleischer mentions “winning” and “surrendering.”
When the Bush administration was lying the country into war, they painted an image for us. The U.S. would be welcomed as liberators, the oil money would pay for reconstruction, Iraq would blossom economically following the lifting of the U.N. sanctions, and democracy would take the country (indeed, the entire region) by storm following the toppling of a brutal dictator. And democracy would bring peace to the region.
Instead we see a post-invasion Iraq with unquelled violence both against the occupiers and among numerous ethnic, political, and criminal groups within Iraq. We see broken infrastructure and a dysfunctional Iraqi government that is on the verge of collapse. That original vision of “winning” has been abandoned.
So after a couple years of downgrading expectations in the face of repeated failures, what is a concrete vision for “winning” in Iraq now? Really…what concrete set of goals will define a “win” now?
Secondly, Fleischer mentions the world “surrender.” What the hell does that mean?
Traditionally, “surrendering” implies giving up to another, presumably superior, power. But there is no “superior power” in Iraq. There is no al Qaeda group, Shia or Sunni militia, or ethnic army that we could go and say, “we surrender…you won. What do you want from us?” Because right now, everyone is a loser in Iraq (except for some U.S. contractors and a handful of Iraqis that made off with billions in our cash).
Surrender? Hogwash! We couldn’t surrender if American lives depended on it.
When Republicans say “we cannot surrender,” you know they really mean? They mean that they cannot be humiliated by admitting that the pre-invasion vision was naive and the post-invasion management has been disastrously incompetent.
And so protecting their pride means that a thousand or two additional young Americans have to die in Iraq.