The dishonesty of the majority

Tell everyone, Madam Speaker, that you are more interested in leaving Iran than winning.

by Darren Bernard

Just say it, Nancy. Grin that big, fake grin and say what Democrats want to say about the war in Iraq but can’t. Say exactly what the Sadrists and Iranians and Sunni terrorists are killing people just to hear you say. Be dramatic about it, too – as if you actually ever had a positive word to say about the effort. Quietly set down your gavel, lift your eyes to the cameras, and just say it: “America has lost.”

Don’t use the word “unwinnable” or call this or that plan a “disaster.” Say there is no need for more troops because the war is over. Done. We’ve lost. Then dump the onanistic nonbinding resolutions and start cutting funds. Call it the, “Screw the Ordinary, Moderate Arabs and Liberal Iraqis Arrangement,” or SOMALIA. At least then Americans are clear about what we will leave behind.

Don’t mince words about your intentions, either. Tell everyone you were always far more interested in leaving than winning, whatever the consequences. You’ll have to admit that a power vacuum for Iran to fill is not good policy, and you’ll need to find some oil companies to blame once crude prices double. Yet if you emphasize the need to hunt down al-Qaida around the world (remember, now, that’s a Sunni organization), at least Cindy Sheehan might believe that fighting the war at its roots is somehow a bad idea.

Of course, the “retreat now” policy isn’t the easiest plug, but you have a few creative selling points. Barbara Boxer gave you a good, rational start last week in suggesting that because the secretary of state has no children, the war is not worth fighting. The logical calculus there is regrettably dense, so you may need to clear that up.

You might also consider the Charlie Rangel route. Fighting terror groups here instead of there means that more middle- to upper-class WASP Americans could be murdered, which would make the death toll more class, gender, sexual orientation, age, race, weight, height and hair and eye color sensitive. Ensuring that a representative sample of Americans die when terror attacks occur is very important to this country; be sure everyone understands Democrats are sensitive to that.

Admittedly, there will be some confusion over how suddenly the calls for retreat became popular in Congress. After all, it was only last month that Harry Reid said he would support a troop surge to stabilize the security situation in Iraq. Americans might wonder why escalation in Anbar and Baghdad became so unpopular once the president decided he likes the idea, too.

The hardest part of all this will be explaining the, “we’ve lost,” line to everyday Iraqis. You see, Nancy, Iraqis know to balk when media reports use comments from the Association of Muslim Scholars and aides to Moqtada al-Sadr as evidence of popular opinion in Iraq. You cannot tell them they are not optimistic about their future; they still are. You cannot tell them they do not want peace; they do at all costs. Failure is flatly unacceptable for them, which is why – despite the omens of civil war – political parties of all sects are still tied into the central government.

But I’ll give it to you, you are sure smart to be squashing any idea of political progress being made in Iraq. After last week’s speech by the president, your fellow House leader Steny Hoyer said he, “heard nothing new.” Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani demands Shi’ite militias be disbanded, President Bush announces an influx of 20,000 troops and largely re-organized security operations, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pledges that political factions (including the Sadrists) will not interfere with security plans, and Democrats say they have “heard nothing new.”

You may not want to bring up the healthy debate among Iraqi parliamentarians over the new plan, Nancy, if this really is nothing new. In fact, you’d do everyone a big favor by getting on with it and do whatever it is you intend to do to sabotage this war. Doing so would at least bring a real debate to the country about what is at stake in Iraq and what measure of progress is necessary to make the war worth while.

Darren Bernard welcomes comments at [email protected].