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Seeing Around Corners

Monday, December 10, 2007
Everybody's mad at the Democratic majority in Congress for passing war funds. The game has been played all year, and it's as dispiriting as it is predictable: Democrats threaten, Bush calls bluff, Democrats cave and give him his money. The cynical analysis would be that Pelosi and Reid, or perhaps just the timorous Blue Dogs, are too afraid of the being attacked for "not supporting the troops", that they're still hypnotized by the debacle of the 2002 midterms.

But there is a more charitable interpretation of what's happening: that Democrats in Congress know what the next move in the game would be. Let's imagine it, shall we? If the Democrats zero out war funding, the assumption is that Bush would have to bring the troops home. But this is only an assumption, isn't it? What's to prevent Bush from not issuing the necessary orders? If the troops remained anyway, they'd be trapped in Iraq with no supplies and would doubtlessly suffer a sharp increase in attacks, and thus additional casualties.

In the crass political sense, Bush could very easily pin the blame on the Democrats for "not supporting the troops," a narrative that would be aided and abetted by his tame press corps. And from a moral perspective, the Congress would have been indirectly responsible for the deaths of thousands more American lives.

It wouldn't be fair, of course. Bush would be engaging in blackmail, holding U.S. forces in Iraq hostage for political gain. And anyone who doesn't think Bush would do something so reckless and destructive simply hasn't been paying attention.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 2:20 PM
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