Bob Herbert writes about how the Republicans are Playing Politics with Iraq:
If hell didn’t exist, we’d have to invent it. We’d need a place to send the public officials who are playing politics with the lives of the men and women sent off to fight George W. Bush’s calamitous war in Iraq.
The administration and its allies have been mercilessly bashing Democrats who argued that the U.S. should begin developing a timetable for the withdrawal of American forces. Republicans stood up on the Senate floor last week, one after another, to chant like cultists from the Karl Rove playbook: We’re tough. You’re not. Cut-and-run. Nyah-nyah-nyah!
“Withdrawal is not an option,” declared the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, who sounded like an actor trying on personas that ranged from Barry Goldwater to General Patton. “Surrender,” said the bellicose Mr. Frist, “is not a solution.”
Any talk about bringing home the troops, in the Senate majority leader’s view, was “dangerous, reckless and shameless.”
But then on Sunday we learned that the president’s own point man in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, had fashioned the very thing that ol’ blood-and-guts Frist and his C-Span brigade had ranted against: a withdrawal plan.
Are Karl Rove and his liege lord, the bait-and-switch king, trying to have it both ways? You bet. And that ought to be a crime, because there are real lives at stake.
The first significant cut under General Casey’s plan, according to an article by Michael Gordon in yesterday’s Times, would occur in September. That, of course, would be perfect timing for Republicans campaigning for re-election in November. How’s that for a coincidence?
It’s no surprise that the Republicans are playing politics with Iraq considering that playing politics is also the way they decided to respond to the 9/11 attacks. The Washington Post also reports on how Democrats are angry that “the U.S. commander in Iraq had privately presented a plan for significant troop reductions in the same week they came under attack by Republicans for trying to set a timetable for withdrawal.”