As America waits for the long-anticipated but even longer predetermined report from Gen. David Patraeus on the situation in Iraq it becomes more and more obvious that little, if anything, will change in the war that just today cost seven more American soldiers their lives.
Patraeus will claim progress in a country torn apart by a civil war we started because those were his marching orders all along. President George W. Bush will agree to a small, but meaningless, troop cut that will gain enough Republican votes to keep Congress deadlocked and stymied and Democrats who swept into office on a platform of change will wring their hands, whine about how they need more of a majority and then claim that “gee, we tried.”
More Americans will die in a war that never should have been launched, deeper political and philosophical divisions will divide this country even more but – in the end – nothing will really change.
Bush has made it clear he wants a “sustained American presence in Iraq” and, for the most part, Bush gets what he wants from a timid Congress. The failed Democratic leadership of Congress walked away from their campaign promises to bring change and compounded their felonies by caving in to Bush and expanding his powers to wiretap and spy on Americans at will.
Americans may not face any real change when the final choices come down in next year’s election. The Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, voted for the war and won’t commit to any real plan to bring the troops home. Republican frontrunners all support the war and the newcomer to the race – former Senator and sometimes actor Fred Thompson – is as big a hawk as Bush.
Bush conned the Congress and the American people into giving him more time to prove his “surge” would work, knowing all along that even if it didn’t work he could cook the books enough to claim it has. A carefully-planned propaganda campaign by the White House has caused a small, but significant, shift in public opinion towards the war fueled by just enough bogus, but plausible, claims that the surge is working.
This brings enough wavering Republicans back into the fold and gives Bush the votes to stall any Congressional effort to set a timetable for withdrawal or force an end to a failed war.
While giving the appearance of an administration on the ropes, the Bush White House has outfoxed Congress at just about every turn, backing the lackluster Democratic leadership into a political corner where any real attempt to end the war comes off looking like abandonment of our troops in the field.
Bush is the unabashed godfather of a political conspiracy to force an unneeded war on a gullible public but Democrats and Republicans in Congress remain his co-conspirators, complicit by giving the authority to wage a war based on lies and hidden agendas and then failing to stop him when those deceits became a matter of record.
So nothing will change. Soon, the American death toll in Iraq will top 4,000. Then 5,000. In the future, when the need comes to build a monument on Washington’s mall to honor those who gave their lives in another failed war, the names on a wall dedicated to the Iraq debacle may outnumber the more than 58,000 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.