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Dropping The Ball

Sunday, Dec. 31, 2006 1:57 PM

We are a nation with a short attention span.

We close out 2006 having reached 3,000 casualties for American troops in Iraq. Reports are calling December the deadliest month for Iraqis as well, with an average of 76 civilians a day. Our president thought it was an achievement to have spent nearly three hours consultationing, and still hasn't gotten around to decidimating things.

And let's not forget that we executed Saddam Hussein on the first day of Eid. Somehow, we have conservative windbags who bemoan the War on Christmas, but it's okay to spit in the faces and on the beliefs of Muslims throughout the Middle East by decorating their sacred days with a hanging. (The date is even more subtle than it appears, as Sunnis celebrated the first day of Eid on Saturday, while Shiites celebrate it on Sunday. Prime Minister al-Maliki has even remarked that the move was a warning to Sunnis that any hope of regaining power was lost.

But the big story today is how other networks are going to top Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve.

No one is wiping the slate clean in Iraq. The body count for our troops doesn't magically reset and start over at 3,000. The problems which we have created in Irag remain a visible and loud testament to the incompetence of the nation's leadership (and I'm not just talking the gang at 1600 Pennsylvania).

But don't worry. The Decider is on the job.

Feel safer yet?

Sen. Arlen Specter has said he's not going to, "... give the President a blank check," for an escalation of troops.

I'll point out that Specter has repeatedly stood up against Bush, then waffled behind closed doors. Or voted for legislation he opposed, because he expected the courts to overturn it.

It's time for Congress to rescind the Authorization of Military Force and admit it was, like USA-PATRIOT, a poorly-thought out decision.

Congress has given President Bush almost everything he wanted (and when they don't, he issues a signing statement). He's received the AUMF. He's been given carte blanche on his cabinet nominations, and even his Supreme Court picks have gone through.

But what has the nation received as a result?

3,000 dead soldiers.

A city inundated by flood waters as the ill-qualified head of FEMA sits and spins, and a briefing on Katrina where the President can't remember the word hurricane.

Secret authorizations to bypass federal law, violate constitutional protections, strip habeas corpus, and alter posse comitatus.

A still-increasing deficit as trillions of dollars are floated to bolster the military adventurism of the botched reconstruction-at-gunpoint in Iraq.

I can't wait to hear Bush proclaim that his New Year's Resolution is to stand firm in Iraq and keep doing what he's doing, because he knew, he knew that Americans would forget why we're fighting, and there'll be tough decisions and more sacrifice ahead.

Come the State of the Union speech, there'll be some poignant reminiscence about a soldier who told him to hold the line (stay the course) even though he had his legs blown off (he's in the gallery, sitting with Laura) or was later killed by an IED that decimated his entire unit (his wife is in the gallery, sitting with Laura).

And then we'll pick someone's holy day to trample as we send in more troops.

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