Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Judgment is Coming

I think Josh Marshall is right. Bush/Rove are betting on withdrawal from Iraq as the "magic bullet" solution to their election problems in 2006. Why? Because it fits the pattern that has led them into the trap of their own making, and proves they will never find their way out.

What has happened to the Bush Administration has been entirely self-inflicted, and, while many voices pointed it out, nobody really cared. The American public went blithely on, apparently not noticing, apparently not bothered with Abu Ghraib or Guantamo or the quagmire that many now acknowledge is Iraq. Nothing has changed in Iraq since the first of the year; the situation, as John Murtha pointed out in his extemporaneous remarks announcing his resolution on setting a withdrawal time table, is the same as it ever was:

"Many say the Army is broken. Some of our troops are on a third deployment. Recruitment is down even as the military has lowed its standards. They expect to take 20 percent category 4, which is the lowest category, which they said they'd never take. Much of our ground equipment is worn out."

"Oil production and energy production are below prewar level. You remember they said that was going to pay for the war, and it's below prewar level. Our reconstruction efforts have been crippled by the security situation. Only $9 billion of $18 billion appropriated for reconstruction has been spent. Unemployment is 60 percentClean water is scarce and they only spent $500 million of the $2.2billion appropriated for water projects.

"And, most importantly --this is the most important point ­ incidents have increased from 150 a week to over 700 in the last year."
What has changed? The attitude of the American public. And what changed them? Katrina.

People still aren't shocked by American combat deaths rising over 2100. They pay little or no attention to the number of wounded, or even the fact that the military is almost irrecoverably broken. But ever since they sat and watched the pictures on CNN of American waving desperately from rooftops, and sitting in hot, sweaty crowds outside concrete buildings waiting for rescue, and hearing horror stories of rapes and mayhem (which turned out to be false), while watching their President say: "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job," they have lost trust in this President.

And he's done absolutely nothing to win it back. Reconstruction in New Orleans is not only halting, it has been openly questioned by the GOP members of Congress. Work in the rest of hte American South is similarly stalled. FEMA has been forced not to evict evacuees from hotel rooms by December 1st. Michael Brown has proven he is as clueless as the President he served. So, if Bush and Rove are banking on troop withdrawals in Iraq to save the GOP in Congressional elections next year, well; it's hardly a surprise, is it?

Atrios thinks this war can be sustained until Bush leaves office, and Attaturk thinks it's all a smokescreen, as well. Niether position seems truly tenable, given the state of the military even now, not to mention in the foreseeable future. Iraq is already a slaughterhouse for our troops; that situation will only get worse. Bush may try to sustain this, with the same swagger and over-bearing ignorance that led him to say "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job." But the troops are not the ones wandering around being advised to roll up their shirt sleeves for the cameras; they are the people trapped in the flooded city. Only this time, we put them there, and once again we're the only ones who can get them out. This has stopped being a political or even military issue; now it's a moral one.

Which is exactly what Katrina did for all the actions of this Administration: turned them from political ones, into moral ones. And George W. Bush and Karl Rove have proven, time and again, they are completely amoral. Even Machiavelli understood that the Prince had to provide something for the people in exchange for having power over them. Bush has signally failed in that, and has gone on to prove the failure was not a fluke, but the very nature of his Presidency. Now the judgment on his Administration is coming; and there is nothing he can do except say: "Lord, when did I see you?"

Advent is, oddly enough, all about anticipation of the Dies Irae, the Days of Judgment, when the King comes to decide

Advent is coming. The Judgment is coming

Excita, quaesumus Domine, potentiam tuam, et veni.

Summon all your strength, O Lord, and come.

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