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Monday, April 16, 2007

Demand an answer: What does it mean to “win,” Mr. President and Vice President?

Bush and Cheney are on full court press saying we must “finish the job” – that the troops “want” to finish the job. It’s time, though, for the Democrats to demand that the press stop pussy-footing around the central question: what in the hell does “finishing the job,” or “winning” mean to you, Mr. President and Mr. Vice President? Obviously, the only possible answer is that the armed forces of the Government of Iraq, as they are being constituted and created by us, will be able to defeat both the Sunni insurgents and the Shia militias; that the police of this government will be able to keep reasonable order throughout the country; and that the government will be accepted by the people as the legitimate central government of the country.

Anything less than that is simply a frivolous answer. By definition, we cannot “win” until we leave, until we end what most Iraqis consider to an occupation of their country, and let the Iraqi Government demonstrate its ability to control the country. Do you expect that to happen, Mr. President and Mr. Vice President, and if so, when?

Of course, short of total destruction of the country, it is an inherently unwinnable task for soldiers for an unwanted foreign power, with no ability to speak the language and little understanding of the culture, to stand in the middle of the crossfire and force a solution to another country’s civil war. I cannot believe the President and Vice President are stupid enough to actually believe what they are saying – they have to know we are talking about another hundred years war, if it’s that brief -- but they think they can hang on to the support of their most gullible supporters until January 2009, by hurling the accusation that anyone unwilling to stick to this inherently impossible task is gutless. People without brains believe them. The real sissies, the real gutless ones, are those who are just buying time at the grievous expense of a few thousand volunteer American soldiers and their families so they can put off as long as possible facing up to being losers.

This and other progressive blogs have been raising this question for some time now: what does it mean to “win”? It’s years past the time for the Times, the Washington Post, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Time and Newsweek to ask that question and demand an answer to it. The fact that they have no answer that makes sense will become more and more evident as they avoid the question.

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