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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

You And What Army?

by digby

Huckleberry Graham and Saxby Chambliss give fair warning that their surging surge will be respected --- or else:

Two Republican senators said Monday that unless Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki makes more political progress by January, the U.S. should consider pulling political or financial support for his government.

The stern warnings, coming from Sens. Lindsey Graham and Saxby Chambliss, are an indication that while GOP patience on the war has greatly increased this fall because of security gains made by the military, it isn't bottomless.

"I do expect them to deliver," Graham, R-S.C., said in a phone interview upon returning from a Thanksgiving trip to Iraq. "What would happen for me if there's no progress on reconciliation after the first of the year, I would be looking at ways to invest our money into groups that can deliver."

Chambliss, R-Ga., who traveled with Graham as part of a larger congressional delegation, said lawmakers might even call for al-Maliki's ouster if Baghdad didn't reach agreement on at least some of the major issues seen as key to tamping down sectarian violence.

"If we don't see positive results by the end of the year I think you'll probably see a strong message coming out of Congress calling for a change in administration," he said in a conference call with reporters.

Right. More "regime change." If I were an Iraqi, I think I'd be asking, no begging the Americans to stop changing our regimes for us. It's really not working out.

Graham and Chambliss said the recent military gains are remarkable, but they agree with Democrats that the political progress has been disappointing. Graham, an early ally of Bush's troop buildup, said he would lose confidence in al-Maliki's government if it could not pass by January a law that would ease curbs on former Baathists from holding government jobs.

This is interesting because McCain was with them and he's doing an end zone dance saying that all the naysayers were wrong and he's a big hero because the surge is supposedly working.

That's one of the cleverest warmonger arguments around. When someone argues that there is no military solution to a problem, the right wing liars insist that means they are saying the military will be defeated. McCain and his fellows said the same thing before the Iraq war --- when we all argued that it wouldn't make us safer, that it would increase terrorist recruiting, that occupying the country would be dangerous and long term they spun that to mean we thought the military couldn't topple Saddam's regime, which we never doubted for a moment. We just didn't think toppling Saddam's regime was a good idea, not that the military couldn't do it. When they drooled all over Bush's victory lap on the carrier it was with a strong dollop of "I told you so" as if those who were against the war had ever doubted that the US Army could defeat Saddam's, which was absurd.

I was talking with a friend yesterday about the fact that conveniently for the Republicans, Iraq is liding off the agenda now that the surge is being touted as a huge success and he noted that we can probably expect to see it slide further as news netwroks decide the war is over and show less and less news. As Eric Boehlert shows in his column to day, it's already happening:

What's obvious is that it's becoming increasingly difficult to find news about the war on television. If the U.S. military action inside Afghanistan is often referred to as "The Forgotten War," due to the lack of media attention it receives, what has Iraq become -- "The Forgotten War II"?

And perhaps nowhere is that amnesia stronger than at ABC's Nightline. The virtual news boycott from Iraq that Nightline has implemented since July went far beyond what any other major American broadcast has done. Again, Nightline aired more than 230 news reports between July 18 and November 22, and not one was about the events on the ground in Iraq. Nightline has not even bothered to cover the ongoing Blackwater USA scandal, involving private American contractors accused of opening fire on unarmed Iraqi civilians on September 16 at a crowded Baghdad intersection, killing 17. The mass shootings are now being investigated stateside by a federal grand jury. Yet, in the 10 weeks since the story first made headlines, there has not been one word about Blackwater USA mentioned on Nightline. Not one.

This is another way the Village picks your president for you. It's not enough that they cover the primaries like a Junior High Wrestling match and Mean Girls slumber party, or even that they cover the general election horse race based upon who stuffs them with the most expensive food on the campaign press plane. They also decide which issues are important --- and that means that the issues they want to talk about --- or which certain savvy political operators who are adept at pushing the kewl kidz buttons want to cover.

Iraq is obviously boring them silly now that it's no longer a great and glorious story of dirty hippies vanquished by the conservative he-men (which is the real subtext of the war in the chattering classes.) So it's being taken off the schedule.

Meanwhile, Huckleberry shakes his tail feathers at the Iraqi government and Condi stages a pageant called "Annapolis" because she wanted her own "Dayton" or "Camp David" in her bio, even if it is seven years and a miserable failure of a war too late. She should have arranged for some people dressed as hippies to protest it and maybe the press would be interested.