E. J. Dionne Jr. wrote in WaPo After this week's elections in Iraq, will our national debate be about what the United States should do to salvage the best outcome it can from a war policy that has been riddled with errors and miscalculations?
What makes you think it has been riddled with errors and miscalculations? Is it because Bush ignored what people like you thought he should do?Or will we mostly discuss how politicians should position themselves on the war? Here's a bet on the triumph of spin. Politicians, especially Democrats, will be discouraged from saying what they really believe about Iraq for fear of offending "swing voters." Slogans about "victory" and "defeatism" will be thrown around promiscuously. The administration's defenders have enjoyed short-term political success by turning attention away from President Bush's Iraq policies and toward divisions in the Democratic Party on the subject. The Republicans particularly enjoy assailing Democrats who have called for the rapid withdrawal of American troops.
The neat summary of the new Republican home-front offensive was the tag line on a Republican National Committee ad: "Our country is at war. Our soldiers are watching and our enemies are too. Message to Democrats: Retreat and Defeat is not an option." Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert helpfully explained: "The Democratic Party sides with those who wish to surrender."
Attacks of this sort on Democrats are effective because Democrats help make them so. Democrats are so obsessed with not looking "weak" on defense
If they did not want to look weak on defense they should not have adopted Murtha's call to withdraw just as we were about to have a major election in Iraq.that they end up making themselves look weak, period, by the way they respond to Republican attacks on their alleged weakness. Oh my gosh, many Democrats say, we can't associate ourselves with the likes of Howard Dean or Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader who recently called for a troop withdrawal within six months. Let's knife them before Karl Rove gets around to knifing us. Talk about a recipe for retreat and defeat.