Tuesday, March 27, 2007
The neocons' dream turned into a nightmare a long time ago. President Bush's war in Iraq has become a disaster for the Iraqis and for us at home. But he must have blinkers and earplugs on to be oblivious of the change in the hearts and minds of American people. Or, worse, he is determined to disregard public opinion. E.J. Dionne,Jr. in the Post: "Within three weeks, the United States could face a constitutional crisis over President Bush's war policy in Iraq. The president and his allies seem to want this fight. Yet insisting upon a confrontation will be another mistake in a long line of bad judgments about a conflict that grows more unpopular by the day."
An Antiwar Tide on the Rise
Last week's narrow House vote imposing an August 2008 deadline for the withdrawal of American troops was hugely significant, even if the bill stands no chance of passing in the Senate this week in its current form. The vote was a test of the resolve of the new House Democratic leadership and its ability to pull together an ideologically diverse membership behind a plan pointing the United States out of Iraq.
Oddly, the president's harsh rhetoric against the House version of the supplemental appropriations bill to finance the Iraq war may have been decisive in sealing Pelosi's victory. "The vehemence with which the president opposed it made it clear to a lot of people that this was a change in direction and that it was significant," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Tom Matzzie, the Washington director of MoveOn, saw the Bush effect rallying his own antiwar membership. "Bush is our worst enemy," Matzzie said, "and our best ally."
With most counts showing Senate Democrats needing only one more vote to approve the call for troop withdrawals next year, antiwar pressures are growing on Sens. John Sununu (R-N.H.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Norm Coleman (R-Minn.). All face reelection next year, as does Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.), who is already seen as leaning toward the withdrawal plan.
Bush might still win this Senate vote and a reprieve for his war policy. But the president's refusal to acknowledge that the country has fundamentally changed its mind on the war makes it impossible for him to work with Congress on a sensible approach to a withdrawal that will happen some day -- with or without a constitutional showdown.