Thursday, November 20, 2003

Once again, Tom the Dancing Bug hits the nail on the head. I'm just getting tired of the administration's attempts to pretend that the very recent past never happened -- not so much disgusted as just tired.

But here's the thing that is starting to bother me. For right now, it seems like it's enough for the Left to play the role of the loyal opposition -- pointing out the lies, saying "I told you so," preventing the Bush administration from rewriting history. But that isn't enough. As Shannon has said to me several times, "It was so easy being mad at Clinton. You didn't have to say what you wanted him to do."

I have not heard any significant figure on the Left explain what we should now do as a nation. We've screwed the pooch by going into Iraq, but we're there now. The toilet has backed up, and there's crap all over the bathroom floor, and it's useless to talk about how you would have called a plumber yesterday.

So, now what? Is the solution another Saigon, 1975? Pull out now and let Iraq fall?

And here's the more difficult problem: Bush's hurried "Iraqification" plan has all the earmarks of a cumulative disaster, but it's not the sort of plan that can be easily opposed without a firm plan of your own. After all, the "loyal opposition" doesn't seem to be urging a longer stay, or higher troop counts. That's why the "Iraqification" plan is a brilliant political move by Karl Rove. He understands that the Left is being reactionary instead of proactive. The administration wants to get out of Iraq! We want Iraq for the Iraqis! So, what do you want, lib'rul? Slower withdrawal? More troops? A draft?

I want someone to propose a concrete, plausible, non-cowardly, non-idiotic strategy for disentangling ourselves from the slow-motion disaster that is Iraq. No points for any answer that begins with "we should never have..." or "I wouldn't have gone in the first place." Start from the present moment.

And I'm sick of the pathetic platitudes about how we should be "multilateral" or should "cooperate" with the international community. How do you plan to achieve that? To return again to the excessively graphic metaphor, Iraq is like when your toilet backs up and overflows onto the floor, and the "international community" are (metaphorically) our house guests. Only your very closest friends would help you clean up that kind of turd garden. So what makes us think that they will send hundreds of billions of dollars and risk their troops to clean up a mess that we made?

So, you heard it here first. I'm sick of sniping from people that don't have a solution, because it's pathetically easy. Irony and dissent are easy if you don't put your own ideas on the line. It's not enough to call Bush a liar -- though he is a liar and a cheat and unworthy of our respect -- you have to explain what he should be doing differently.

And if you can't do that, shut the hell up.

And I don't know what to do in Iraq. So this is me shutting up.

 8:38 AM

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