Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Any way you spin it, Iraq is the war of Bush and his supporters. But this may be the key to ending the war:

In 2002, and in 2004, and at all points in between and since, the war in Iraq has been Bush’s War; and, as he was their man, it has been the Republicans’ War. The war and Bush were inseparable - he was The War President, the war was his thing, and if he stopped being President the war was lost. In 2002, this was good; in 2004, kind of a wash; now, it’s no good at all. Now, whether Republicans really thought supporting the war was good policy, or just good politics, isn’t that important, as they (almost) all have impressively long track records of equating leaving Iraq with letting Osama crash on your couch. This makes it hard to change course, even with most of the country supporting a pull-out. But as the investigation of OverblownPersonnelMatterGate drags on, and Bush gets even more toxic, policy is going to be less important than politics, and the political imperative is going to be to repudiate Bush. And the way you repudiate Bush is by repudiating his policy, and ending the war.

However, if the Republicans don’t understand the new dynamic and fail to repudiate Bush and end the war, the party will be decimated in the 2008 elections and then the Democrats will do it on their own and get the political credit. I hope that isn’t the way this plays out.

Also, very bad things are likely to happen when we leave (see, e.g., Cambodia circa 1977). At some point before the U.S. is forced by domestic politics to pull out of the country, it should ask the Security Council to sanction a multilateral peacekeeping force to intervene to stop the country from imploding. Unfortunately, I can’t picture the rubes willing to step into that pile of shpoop, nor can I imagine Bush agreeing to UN intervention or anything like it. Hopefully his successor will be more flexible.

And hopefully his successor will not be Clinton. Here is a convincing version of the liberaltarian argument against her. Come to think of it, I don’t know of any bloggers who are revved up about Clinton, whatever their politics. Are there any out there?

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