Pullout is nobody’s political victory | VailDaily.com

Pullout is nobody’s political victory

Matt Zalaznick

When the troops start coming home from Iraq, their return should not be trumpeted as a political victory by anyone ” not the dishonest White House, not Congressional Republicans scrambling for reelection next fall; not even feckless Democrats whining about how the president’s lies about WMDs tricked them into voting for war.

When the troops land in the homeland, senators and congressman will no doubt show up at the local military base for photo ops and to interfere with family reunions. A more proper place for the American leaders who voted to invade a country that wasn’t threatening America’s precious freedom is at the funerals of those who didn’t come home.

The American people and their military were failed by their government. Though the failure begins in W’s deceptions and Rummy’s incompetence, those below who gave them the power to drop bombs ” everyone from Bill Frist to John McCain to John Kerry to Hillary Clinton” should also apologize to the nation for attacking Iraq without a plan beyond “Shock and Awe.”

The political victories could have been won in early 2003, when Democrats and Republicans could have cooled the post-9/11 rancor stirred up by W, Dicky and the PR flaks they had promoting the apocalypse.

Real leaders, seeing no imminent threat from Saddam, could have restrained the president.

In 2003, Iraq was a miserable dictatorship. But that misery was contained within the country’s borders and by Saddam’s illegitimacy in the Arab world. In 2005, Iraq is hellhole, where the chaos unleashed by the American invasion threatens the lives of all Iraqis and ” as proven by the bombings in Amman, Jordan ” all of its neighbors.

Maybe some day America will gets its own Iraqi suicide bomber, who will blow up a hotel in San Diego, Minneapolis or Miami Beach. By then, though, W’s bogus reasoning ” that we had to create a hotbed of terrorism in Iraq and then smash it to prove we’re winning the War on Terror ” won’t fly.

In fact, few Republicans running for reelection ” except the most ideologically desperate, like Rick Santorum and Marilyn Musgrave ” buy W’s con game anymore. They don’t want to be seen with him ” W’s Iraq has become as toxic as Slick Willie’s intern.

Of course, Monica Lewinsky didn’t overextend the military, turn the world against America or kill more than 2,000 of our troops and untold Iraqi civilians.

Bringing home the troops will at least end W’s remarkable string of military failures. Yes, we will leave Iraq a mess, but, if we stay another five years under this administration’s strategies, the outcome is unlikely to be any different. We may even find ourselves fighting Kurds and Iranians by then.

The political victory to be won now ” or after 2008, when W packs up his disdain for the American people and hatred for little people everywhere, and slouches back to Crawford ” is restoring America’s image as a model of freedom, decency and tolerance.

That, of course, is a major task and will continue to be ” even if we ignore the phonies in France.

The world won’t ” and shouldn’t ” forget the pornography that oozed out of the Family Values Administration’s gulag at Abu Ghraib. And once he’s out of office and no longer has access to his bunker, the Cheney de Sade may well hit the lecture circuit to continue his support for torture.

Opponents of the war and of the Bush Administration are often accused of hating America. We don’t hate America ” we love America as much as the next NASCAR dad, but the good name of Uncle Sam has been sullied.

The USA that once stood for prosperity and acceptance for natives, newcomers and foreigners, now stands for belligerence and selfish fear ” for natives, newcomers and foreigners. God bless the Patriot Act, the Minutemen and secret CIA prisons!

Hopefully, the next Clinton Administration, or the McCain, Giuliani, Warner or Richardson administrations, will make playing nice with the rest of the world a top priority ” will realize playing nice with the rest of the world is in America’s greatest interest with pandemics, Islamic fundamentalist terrorism and environmental ruin looming for all of us.

Hopefully, the next president won’t use America’s needs for security and oil as an excuse to act tough. Hopefully, the next president won’t spend his time churning out al-Qaida recruiting posters.

City Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14620, or mzalaznick@vaildaily.com

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