Independent Christian Voice

Sunday

Support slipping among Republicans?

From ProfessorBainbridge.com:
Quote:
What might have been It's time for us conservatives to face facts. George W. Bush has pissed away the conservative moment by pursuing a war of choice via policies that border on the criminally incompetent. We control the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives, and (more-or-less) the judiciary for one of the few times in my nearly 5 decades, but what have we really accomplished? Is government smaller? Have we hacked away at the nanny state? Are the unborn any more protected? Have we really set the stage for a durable conservative majority? Meanwhile, Bush continues to insult our intelligence with tripe like this:
"Our troops know that they're fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere to protect their fellow Americans from a savage enemy," Bush said in his weekly radio address. {Ed: Full text here} "They know that if we do not confront these evil men abroad, we will have to face them one day in our own cities and streets, and they know that the safety and security of every American is at stake in this war," he said.
I guess that's all he has left. After all, if Iraq's alleged WMD programs were the casus belli, why aren't we at war with Iran and North Korea? Not to mention Pakistan, which remains the odds-on favorite to supply the Islamofascists with a working nuke. If Saddam's cruelty to his own people was the casus belli, why aren't we taking out Kim Jong Il or any number of other nasty dictators? Indeed, what happened to the W of 2000, who correctly proclaimed nation building a failed cause and an inappropriate use of American military might? And why are we apparently going to allow the Islamists to write a more significant role for Islamic law into the new Iraqi constitution? If throwing a scare into the Saudis was the policy, so as to get them to rethink their deals with the jihadists, which has always struck me as the best rationale for the war, have things really improved on that front? The trouble with Bush's justification for the war is that it uses American troops as fly paper. Send US troops over to Iraq, where they'll attract all the terrorists, who otherwise would have come here, and whom we'll then kill. This theory has proven fallacious. The first problem is that the American people are unwilling to let their soldiers be used as fly paper. If Iraq has proven anything, it has confirmed for me the validity of the Powell Doctrine.
Essentially, the Doctrine expresses that military action should be used only as a last resort and only if there is a clear risk to national security by the intended target; the force, when used, should be overwhelming and disproportionate to the force used by the enemy; there must be strong support for the campaign by the general public; and there must be a clear exit strategy from the conflict in which the military is engaged. Powell based this strategy for warfare in part on the views held by his former boss in the Reagan administration, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, and also on his own experience as a major in Vietnam. That protracted campaign, in Powell's view, was representative of a war in which public support was flimsy, the military objectives were not clear, overwhelming force was not used consistently, and an exit strategy was ill defined.
Sounds a lot like Iraq doesn't it? Public support for the war is sliding. We're not using a fraction of our military potential, and there seems to be no clear viable long-term goal or exit strategy. {Update: On the issue of whether we're using our full military potential, Victor Davis Hanson observes: "throughout this conflict the United States has been apprehensive that it was becoming too brutal in its effort even as the Islamic fascists were convinced that we were too weak to fight such a war."} The second problem is that the fly paper strategy seems to be radicalizing our foes even more. For every fly that gets caught, it seems as though 10 more spring up. This should hardly come as a surprise to anybody who has watched Israel pursue military solutions to its terrorist problems, after all. Does anybody really think Israel's military actions have left Hezbollah or Hamas with fewer foot soldiers? To the contrary, the London bombing suggests to me that it is only a matter of time before the jihadists strike in the US again, even though our troops remain hung out as fly paper in the Augean Stables of Iraq. {Update: The news that Scotland Yard foiled a gas attack on the House of Commons, for which the Yard deserves mega-kudos, doesn't change my mind. As the climax of Tom Clancy's novel Debt of Honor suggests (and I still wonder of that inspired 9/11), the terrorists only need to win once. Conversely, the latest news about that rocket attack on a US Navy ship in Jordan seems to confirm my concerns: "The Abdullah Azzam Brigades -- an al-Qaida-linked group that claimed responsibility for the bombings which killed at least 64 people at Sharm el-Sheik in July and 34 people at two other Egyptian resorts last October -- said in an Internet statement that its fighters had fired the Katyushas, bolstering concerns that Islamic extremists had opened a new front in the region." Indeed, the NYT reports that: "The possible involvement of Iraqis and the military-style attack have raised fears that militants linked to Iraq's insurgency may be operating on Jordanian soil."} While we remain bogged down in Iraq, of course, Osama bin Laden remains at large somewhere. Multi-tasking is all the rage these days, but whatever happened to finishing a job you started? It strikes me that catching Osama would have done a lot more to discourage the jihadists than anything we've done in Iraq. What really annoys me, however, are the domestic implications of all this. The conservative agenda has advanced hardly at all since the Iraq War began. Worse yet, the growing unpopularity of the war threatens to undo all the electoral gains we conservatives have achieved in this decade. Stalwarts like me are not going to vote for Birkenstock wearers no matter how bad things get in Iraq, but what about the proverbial soccer moms? Gerrymandering probably will save the House for us at least through the 2010 redistricting, but what about the Senate and the White House? In sum, I am not a happy camper. I'm very afraid that 100 years from now historians will look back at W's term and ask "what might have been?"

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