Columnwhoring: Leaving/Losing

Wake up:

Leaving doesn’t have to mean giving up accountability, either.

Mistakes, catastrophic ones, were made by the planners and executors of this war, and leaving just means we can address those mistakes without the tiresome refrain that any questioning of anyone’s authority anywhere is undermining the troops in the field. It might even speed up the Congressional hearings, if that worn-out argument can be dispensed with.

Leaving can mean we bring the troops home to a thank you, a parade: Thank you for trying to do your best in a bad situation, thank you for your sense of duty in a cynical world, thank you for serving your country faithfully. Thank you, and welcome home.

Leaving can mean we begin spending the billions we’re spending in Iraq on care for those who fought in Iraq, on improvements to conditions at veterans’ hospitals and increased funding for mental health services to treat post traumatic stress disorder and other invisible casualties of war.

Leaving can mean we begin to deal with this conflict from a position of hindsight, in which missteps can be soberly assessed, lessons learned, and resolutions made never to repeat the disaster that has occupied us the past four and a half years.

The president does not have to cling so desperately to the idea that staying is the only way to victory. He does not even have to worry about the damage to his political reputation — and not just because it would be hard for his reputation to get any worse. He can realize what any savvy politician would: that presiding over the homecoming of U.S. troops would go a long way toward allaying the hostility of voters toward him and his party and his war.

Leaving doesn’t have to mean losing. It’s only the president who keeps insisting that it does.


3 thoughts on “Columnwhoring: Leaving/Losing

  1. Yep, only the cretin in chief thinks we (he) are losing if we leave. Ergo, his definition of winning is what? Keeping the U.S. involved in a war. He started it and he is becoming about the only one still liking it. So what good is the war to him? From all the possible reasons, such as basically liking using it to give himself powers he has no right to, I choose the profit motive. He’s looking to make himself and his friends very, very rich by war profiteering, and nothing else matters. (The war powers make it impossible to examine his administration’s crimes, too.)

  2. Your best point here, Athenae, is the one about how leaving would redound to Bush’s credit — at the very least, it wouldn’t harm his reputation. I’m sort of surprised that his people haven’t thought about it that way. When you say it, it seems obvious that there could be all kinds of homecoming parades and ceremonies, and Bush could dress up in his fancy costumes with his seal on the pocket, and preside over the ceremonies and think that he’s important. It would make him look better, it would give people a better taste in their mouths about Republicans and Bush, and it would bring an end to an issue that is clearly a drain on his presidency and his popularity.
    Or is it that his people have tried to explain this to him and we’re dealing with a deep-rooted psychological inability to change course, to admit to error in any form? The latter seems to be a hallmark of this administration in general; I noticed how often Gonzales spoke about taking responsibility in today’s hearing, but when he was pressed about whether he’d made a mistake in these firings, he couldn’t bring himself to admit it. The most he would do is blather about the process (and it’s not even clear how, or if, he would have changed the process), but all in the context that other bad people messed things up and it wasn’t his fault.
    I personally never wanted a two year old as President. I always thought it was a good idea to have someone as leader who has faced some demons and developed some maturity. And here we have a case study for why those are good things in a chief executive.

  3. Word to the last line. If one of the bills currently being proposed were to be not vetoed, not only would it be losing, it would be leaving in only military terms – with continued funding for diplomatic efforts in the country, so that Iraq wouldn’t be abandoned, only withdrawn from. As the man said, you don’t achieve peace by force of arms, only by understanding.

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