If you are looking for an alternative to the Bush
agenda, you aren't going to find it inside the Beltway. While President Bush
makes a covert slog around Iraq to tout the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and
the other deadly performances of our armed forces, the Democrats back home are
doing exactly the same.
In a radio address on June 10, the Democratic leader in the Senate, Harry Reid,
praised Zarqawi's death.
"This week, America received good news from a place we don't often hear
about, Iraq. First came reports that our military tracked down and destroyed
al-Qaeda terrorist Zarqawi," Reid said. "He was a cold-blooded murderer
who got what he deserved. With his death, America continues to serve notice
to those who would do us harm: you can run, you can hide, but you'll meet a
In November 2001, Bush emphasized similar rhetoric about bin Laden and al-Qaeda.
"We're smoking them out," Bush remarked. "They're running. And now
we're going to bring them to justice … we'll use whatever means necessary to
achieve that objective – and that's exactly what we're going to do."
Sen. Hillary Clinton praised the killing of Zarqawi as well. "I hope that this
will be a blow to the insurgency in Iraq and affords an opportunity for the
new Iraqi government to build on this success and provide greater security and
stability for the Iraqi people."
Both the Republicans and Democrats would have us believe that Zarqawi was a
brilliant terrorist mastermind, whose death comes as a giant setback to the
resistance movement in Iraq. But if Nir Rosen, Robert Fisk, Patrick Cockburn
and others are correct, Zarqawi's death will make little, if any, difference
in the long run – for all-out ethnic civil war is fast engulfing the battered
land. The United States is being defeated and its occupational grip is weakening.
Zarqawi's departure from the scene won't change that.
The fact that U.S. presence in the country is becoming less and less significant
still doesn't mean our troops will be coming home any time soon. The Republicans
won't bring them back, nor will their alleged opposition. Both parties will
stay the course and keep the U.S. military there for the foreseeable future.
A few popular Democrats are calling for the exit of troops from Iraq, including
past presidential disappointments John Kerry and Al Gore. Sen. Kerry wants to
pull troops out of Iraq by year's end, which of course he's qualified by writing
that only "troops essential to finishing the job" would remain. Such
a bogus position won't end the war. Gore, however, will not even back Kerry's
"I would pursue the twin objectives of trying to withdraw our forces as quickly
as we possibly can, while at the same time minimizing the risk that we'll make
the mess over there even worse and raise even higher the danger of civil war,"
Gore recently told ABC News. "It's possible that setting a deadline could
set in motion forces that would make it even worse. I think that we should analyze
that very carefully. My guess is that a deadline is probably not the right approach."
As if the approach we are currently taking is making the situation any
better. Iraq is becoming more bloody and chaotic by the day. The "war on
terror" will carry on in its misguided and illegitimate direction as long
as Democrats and Republicans continue to call the shots in Washington. The soft
murmurs of dissent we are now hearing from a handful of Democrats amount to
little more than a coordinated bluff. It's an election year, remember?
That is the reality the antiwar movement better grapple with if it wants to
end this crazy war.