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Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

It's business as usual in Washington while people keep dying in Iraq.

And journalist Matt Tabibi is even less impressed with how Democrats are dealing with the Iraq occupation than I am. Writing in Rolling Stone, Tabibi suggests that Democratic congressional leaders have come up with a strategy that gives the appearance of confronting Dubya over Iraq, but doesn't involve taking any of the political risks that would be associated with actually doing something to stop the carnage.

In my visits to Washington in the past few months I've heard different stories from Democratic congressional aides about what the party's intentions are. Some say they think the leadership is just going to stall and pass a bunch of non-binding, symbolic, Kumbayah horseshit to help propel whoever the Democratic candidate is into the White House two years from now. Others claim with a straight face that all of these non-binding resolutions are only a start, that the strategy is to really end the war via a death-by-a-thousand-cuts type of legislative grind, with the leadership sending to the floor bill after bill after bill designed to eat away at either war policy or war funding. They claim that all of these votes are exercises in coalition-building, necessary steps to gathering the support needed to pass real biting measures later on.

But I'll believe that when I see it. Right now, it all looks too convenient....

You'll know that something real is going on in Washington when either a) the Democrats force the "antiwar conservatives" to actually cast a vote on whether or not to cut off spending for the war, or b) a dozen or so more Republicans cross the picket line to set up a possible override of a Bush veto. Until and unless one of those unlikely moments arrives, it sure looks like what we've got is one of those rare "good for both teams" baseball trades, an arranged standoff in which everybody gets to suck a little of that hot nourishing blood in the ballooning antiwar poll numbers.

My sense of this whole ballet from the start has been that with each passing season, as the antiwar rhetoric increases both among the public and in Washington, we'll see a corresponding increase in both financial and personnel commitment in the Iraq theater. The logic here is irresistible; Bush will not preside over what he perceives to be a surrender, and the Democrats will not cast a vote "against the troops" in an election season. So what we'll get is a lot of what we just saw -- non-binding antiwar votes hitched to troop increases and/or "short-term" funding boosts. It's worth noting that the same political logic that led the Bush White House to fund the war as an emergency long after it ceased to be an unexpected expenditure will now appeal to the Democrats, and for the same reason; so long as the money is in an "emergency" bill, they will be able to pretend, before voters, that the commitment is temporary.

Via AlterNet.

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| | Posted by Magpie at 8:42 AM | Get permalink




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