Iraq, Five Years Later

Do you say “end it” or “win it”?

Your choice of words likely indicates which party you’ll vote for come November.

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Lieberman Leaving the Democratic Party?

Lieberman says leaving the Democratic Party is a “very remote possibility.” But even that slight ambiguity — and all his cross-aisle flirtation — has proved more than enough to position Lieberman as the Senate’s one-man tipping point. (Source)

And the issue that could tip Lieberman to the Republican side? According to The Politico: defunding the war. I wonder how remote that vote is.

Bush Talks With Conservative Journalists

President Bush met with seven conservative journalists for an hour on Wednesday. Michael Barone of U.S. News and World Report is one of the journalists and offers an unabridged full-text transcript and audio of the entire meeting.

Byron York, National Review White House correspondent, writes on Bush’s plan for measuring progress in the Iraq War:

So if the U.S. chooses not to reveal how many of the enemy it has killed — and if, in any event, that death toll is not stopping the sectarian violence — then how does one assess what is going on? “I’ve thought long and hard about this, because it is precisely what is frustrating most people,” Bush said. “A lot of people are just saying, ‘You’re not doing enough to win. We’re not winning, you’re not doing enough to win, and I’m frustrated, I want it over with, with victory.’ And I’m trying to figure out a matrix that says things are getting better. I think that one way to measure is less violence than before, I guess…”

But that, of course, leads back to the president’s statement that the enemy gets to define victory by killing people. If the sectarian forces are able to keep up the killing, then they will determine who wins in Iraq.

The latest plan to retake the offensive on defining victory is the so-called benchmark. “The idea is to develop with the Iraqi government a series of benchmarks — oil, federalism, constitutional reform, there’s like 20 different things — and have that developed in a way that they’re comfortable with and we’re comfortable with,” Bush said. Progress toward those goals would give the administration new ways to point toward overall progress in Iraq. (Source.)

I’m downloading the mp3 right now. I’m interested to see the context for Bush’s quote in the title of York’s article: “If We Can’t Win, I’ll Pull Us Out.”

Update: Here’s the context for the quote. It’s at the tail end of Bush’s opening remarks.

As I say, people want to know, can you win? They’re with us if we can win. If we’re there and can’t win, we’re gone. If we can’t win, I’ll pull us out. If I didn’t think it was noble and just and we can win, we’re gone. I can’t — I’m not going to keep those kids in there and have to deal with their loved ones. I cannot — I can’t cover it up when I meet with a family who’s lost a child. I cry, I weep, I hug. And I’ve got to be able to look them in the eye and say, we’re going to win. I have to be able to do that. And I’m not a good faker. (Source.)

Pentagon: Iraq Propaganda Legal

The Pentagon concluded the U.S. military acted legally by hiring the Lincoln Group to pay Iraqi news organizations to publish pro-American stories. Ever ready to ignore good news in our war on terror, Senator Kennedy raised the issue:

Broader policy questions remain about whether the administration’s manipulation of the news in Iraq contradicts our goal of a free and independent press there. —Sen. Kennedy (Source)

Yeah, and having guns contradicts our goal of safety.

Iraq: Dean v. Lieberman

The “idea that we’re going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong.” —Howard Dean.

“What a colossal mistake it would be for America’s bipartisan political leadership to choose this moment in history to lose its will and in the famous phrase, to seize defeat from the jaws of the coming victory.” —Joe Lieberman

What’s particularly sad, both of these Democrats could be right.