Republicans' Twisted War Message: Why Bush Choked on his Pretzel

05/25/2011 12:05 pm ET

Appearing on the Sunday morning news shows, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told the American people that our leaving Iraq would result in a wider war, with real danger to the United States and its interests.

In the very same interview, when asked about the Iraqi Parliament's petition, signed by a majority of the lawmakers that the U.S. should set a timetable to withdraw, McConnell said that, if that is what they want, we should welcome the opportunity and withdraw.

McConnell is a lockstep rightwinger who is becoming increasingly concerned about his own re-election chances in Kentucky.

I have written on several occasions about the twisted logic supporting continuance of the Iraq War (see "Deconstructing Bush's War on Terrorism", 10/26/06). On the one hand, we hear about the dire consequences if we leave Iraq. To me, the only cogent comment about that comes from Presidential candidate, and diplomat extraordinaire, Bill Richardson: staying in Iraq is MORE LIKELY to provoke the dire consequences because, so long as we are there, the parties see any consistency with U.S. policy and interests as collaboration with an occupier, and thus the difficult-at-best diplomacy required to provide the Iraqis a stable country is more difficult by an order of magnitude.

Moreover, if the McConnells (and Perinos, Putnams, Romneys, Kristols and Bartlett types) REALLY believed in the dire consequences they would resign their current posts and volunteer for Iraq as a means to rally support through their own sacrifices, or, in the case of McConnell, Romney and Kristol, - who between them, have 11 military age children - their childrens'. But, they do not. (And the lapdog press never asks).

Note, however, that McConnell goes a step further. He says that if they want us out, we should leave. While I admire his obedience to the will of the Iraqi people as expressed through their elected representatives, one must wonder when that principle became inoperative in the United States (could it be November 6, 2006?).

I have also written about the impossible logic behind the Republican position that says that we are at grave risk if we leave, but the war can only be resolved by Iraqi politicians...that leads to the inexorable conclusion that George Bush and Dick Cheney have quite literally made U.S. foreign and military policy hostage to the whims of Iraqi politicians who may, or may not, decide to reconcile.

Remember the years of pretended wailing from the radical rightwing about surrendering sovereignty to the United Nations (that we never did, and no one ever proposed, but when have the facts impeded their caterwauling)? How dare, they said, John Kerry raise as just one consideration for military action a "global test", so we would not be, as we are now, alone and without allies.

What Bush and Cheney have done, however, by outsourcing our entire military and foreign policy to the whims of Iraqi politicians is quite real. The logic is impenetrable. The violation of their oaths of office by so doing is inescapable. That they quote Osama bin Laden (see "bin Laden's Favorite President", 4/13/07) to justify our continued presence in Iraq, whereas Osama is clearly snookering them to do exactly what he wants --i.e., go after someone else!-- should be as plain as McConnell's pathetic groveling.

That is why Mitch McConnell's statements are so twisted, contorted and inconsistent. It is why George Bush nearly choked on his pretzel.

But, they "believe." And, for those beliefs, brave U.S. men and women will continue to fall at the rate of a battalion per month to death and injury. The tragic irony is that rightwingers ask the ultimate sacrifice and courage from our soldiers and marines, but haven't the ounce of courage to state the truth and so vote.

For someone like Chuck Hagel, who has actually fought, stating and voting his conscience is, as he puts it, not even close to the most dangerous situations he has experienced.

Would that others would draw on that.