The death comes two days after the release of the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group Report which, although heavily critical of the way the war has been run (and not run), basically gives cover to the administration to stay in Iraq for two more years.
Tom Friedman of the New York Times, a war supporter, said in his Friday column the choice is really "10 months or 10 years."
As I’ve written before, our real choices in Iraq are 10 months or 10 years. Either we commit the resources to entirely rebuild the place over a decade, for which there is little support, or we tell everyone that we will be out within 10 months, or sooner, and we’ll deal with the consequences from afar. We need to start the timer — today, now.Based on his public statements since the Baker-Hamilton report was released, the President is still locked away in his 'victory' fantasy land. There will be no change in policy forthcoming from this administration. This means that full implications of the "grave and deteriorating" conditions in Iraq, as described by the 10 people on the Baker-Hamilton panel (all supporters of the war) will be unveiled before our eyes.
But, as proof of the power of words, the criticisms included in the Baker-Hamilton report apparently were enough to embolden one Republican senator to part company with the Bush administration on Iraq. Today, Oregon Sen. Gordon Smith stood on the floor of the U.S. Senate and said:
That is a lesson we are learning again. I am afraid, rather than leveling with the American people and saying this was going to be a decade-long conflict because of the angst and hatred that exists in that part of the world, that we tried to win it with too few troops in too fast a time. Lest anyone thinks I believe we have failed militarily, please understand I believe when President Bush stood in front of "mission accomplished'' on an aircraft carrier that , in purely military terms, the mission was accomplished in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But winning a battle, winning a war, is different than winning a peace.You can read the speech here (and there's a link to video).
We were not prepared to win the peace by clearing, holding, and building. You don't do that fast and you don't do it with too few troops. I believe now that we must either determine to do that , or we must redeploy in a way that allows us to continue to prosecute the larger war on terror. It will not be pretty. We will pay a price in world opinion. But I, for one, am tired of paying the price of 10 or more of our troops dying a day. So let's cut and run, or cut and walk, or let us fight the war on terror more intelligently than we have, because we have fought this war in a very lamentable way.
So, Bush might not be moved, but Baker-Hamilton appears to have given some Republicans the political cover they needed to abandon Bush's failed policies in Iraq.
On the floor of the Senate on Wednesday, Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa railed against the refusal of the FDA and the Justice Department to comply with subpoenas issued by Senate committees. He warned Democrats that talking about oversight is one thing, but if the executive branch refuses to acknowledge things like Congressional oversight of its conduct, there is a serious problem. Yes, it's called a Constitutional crisis.
I believe Democrats will try to assert Congresses oversight duties and rights. I also believe that the Bush administration will stonewall those attempts. The war in Iraq will be but one instance over which these fights will occur.
Ultimately, based on Bush's obstinancy and a monarchical view of government that can be found nowhere in the founding documents of this country, impeachment will the only course remaining for those trying to restore Constitutional balance.
In the meantime, Bush will continue trying to press on with this war as if he's King. More Americans will be killed and wounded in pursuit of a war that the country does not believe in and does not believe will succeed.
More than 30 years ago, the question about the Vietnam War was who would be the last person to die for that mistake. The question now is: who will be the last American to die for the delusions of George W. Bush?