Friday, January 12, 2007

Kick Him When He's Down!

Why doesn't anybody like me???

A couple of items in the news today demonstrate why being a failure as President is the world's loneliest job...

Bush team faces hostile Democrats over new plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush and his top military and diplomatic team tried to convince a hostile Democratic-led Congress and a skeptical U.S. public on Thursday that his plan to send more troops to Iraq will work.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, heading to Capitol Hill for an expected grilling from lawmakers, insisted to reporters that Bush's new plan will put more pressure on Iraqis to take over their own security.
From a different article:
One of Rice's testiest exchanges came with Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

Obama noted that when Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, testified before the committee last July, he said the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had six months to bring the sectarian violence under control or the fledgling nation could fall into an intractable crisis.

"Six months have passed. The sectarian violence has worsened," Obama said. "What leverage do we have that would provide us some assurance that six months from now, you will not be sitting before us again saying, `Well, it didn't work'?"

Rice responded that the al-Maliki government would have to achieve certain benchmarks in the next few months, such as showing it would be even-handed in defending its population.

"Or else what?" Obama pressed.

"Or this plan . . . is not going to work," Rice responded.
OK, so the Dems got their kicks in, but...check out some of the Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:
Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), a Vietnam veteran, called the plan "the most dangerous foreign-policy blunder in this country since Vietnam," and accused the administration of sending American troops into a civil war.

"To ask our young men and women to sacrifice their lives, to be put in the middle of a civil war, is wrong," he said. "It's . . . morally wrong. It's tactically, strategically, militarily wrong."

[...]Rep. John McHugh, R-N.Y., expressed concern about whether Iraqi security forces were up for the fight.

"I just have my doubts that the Iraqis will show up," McHugh said.
The House, as is its wont as the more tumultuous and partisan of the two houses of Congress, was more generally supportive of Bush, altho Senator (and Steve Forbes lookalike) Mitch McConnell (R-KYJelly) threatened to fillibuster any resolution that openly disapproved of the President's escalation.

McConnell....fillibuster....hmmmmm....that sounds sort of familiar, don't you think? Can you say "nuclear option"?

The House got its kick in from a different direction, however:
WASHINGTON // After an emotional day of debate in which lawmakers invoked their own medical tragedies and those of families, friends and constituents, the House of Representatives voted yesterday to expand federally funded embryonic stem cell research.
The vote was 253-174, short of what is necessary to override a promised presidential veto. But the third major piece of legislation to pass the House this week fulfilled a key campaign promise Democrats made on their path to winning the majority.
True PromiseKeepers...

Even his own administration is doing an end-around on his war policy:
WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday changed the Pentagon's rules to allow for shorter and more frequent call-ups of the National Guard and Reserves.

Instead of calling up individual troops for 18 months of active-duty service, the Pentagon now will mobilize entire units for no longer than one year, Gates announced, speaking at a White House news conference.

"This change will allow us to achieve greater unit cohesion and predictability in how Reserve units train and deploy," said Gates, appearing with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The Pentagon's goal is to ensure that part-time military forces are called to active duty no more than once every six years. But Gates acknowledged that a "select number" of Guard and Reserve units would be recalled sooner than that.
Shorter tours and more infrequent call-ups will force Bush to either fight using the full-time Army more and more, or call for a draft, neither being particularly good politically. Currently, although they make up nearly half the fighting forces in Iraaq and Afghanistan, only ten percent of the Guard and Reserves is eligible for call up again. This sort of sets an outer limit to the length of the Iraq war, which is being fought on the backs of the poorest Americans who joined the Guard and Reserves (and Army) for the college tuition and signing bonus, while they were able to work full time jobs if Guardian or Reservist.

"Were" being the operative word. Although by law employers were forced to keep jobs open for anyone in the Guard and Reserves who were called up, tens of thousands of the hundreds of thousands called up have been so severly injured and of course killed, that jobs may be moot, even allowing for the Americans With Disabilities Act, which requires "reasonable accomodations" be made for an emloyee's disabilities. Expect this to be a larger issue during the next administration.

Even Saddam got one last kick in, going out the door:
CAIRO, Egypt -- Hours before Saddam Hussein's execution, the ousted Iraqi leader asked his lawyers not to appeal for his life and accused the United States and Iran of collaborating to hang him, according to a copy of his will.
Thus neatly tying Bush into his own "Axis of Terror".

It's going to be a lonnnnnnnnng two years.

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