Wednesday night, Bush the Decider announced his intention to throw gasoline on the inferno he ignited in
Bush warned in his speech that a
Most Democrats’ response to Bush’s speech was a chilling reminder of how far to the right the political center has lurched. Official Democratic opinion vacillated between two options. The first is to continue to “help the Iraqis.” So far US “help” has killed well over half a million people, destroyed Iraq’s infrastructure, ignited a civil war, and transformed the country from a brutal, but highly functional, secular state into a brutal, totally dysfunctional Islamist theocracy.
The second option is to compel Iraqis to “take responsibility” for the lack of security, the marauding militias, and the crisis-level shortages of electricity, water, and housing that so many Iraqi families face. But all of these things are squarely the responsibility of the
What the Democrats should have been saying in response is that another 21,500 troops will not defeat the insurgency or quell the civil war. The “surge” will merely bring the total number of troops to about what it was last November–the single worst month for Iraqi fatalities. And they should have been saying that another $1 billion in reconstruction money won’t make any difference. Far too much of the first $18.4 billion is now lining the pockets of Dick Cheney’s friends at Halliburton. Besides, it’s hard to reconstruct when you’re being bombed and shot at by insurgents. If the Democrats were really doing their job last night, they would have refocused attention on the real issue, which is not tinkering with troop levels and reconstruction budgets, but ending
So what now? We should demand that Congress take advantage of the hearings scheduled over the next few weeks to really interrogate Bush’s proposal. We should demand that they refuse Bush’s request (expected in February) for another $100 billion to fund the wars in
Yifat Susskind is the Communications Director of MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization. Born in