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Power Rings & Magical Thinking

Monday, Jan. 08, 2007 4:19 AM

On Wednesday, President Bush is scheduled to whip the cover off his exciting New Path Forward. The Democrats have written to Mr. Bush, recommending he come to them with a plan that doesn't involve escalation, and announced their intent to block such if that turns out to be the grand strategy.

The problem is that the Bush Administration has been practicing what others have coined the 'Green Lantern' strategy.

In brightest day, in blackest night
No evil shall escape my sight
Let those who worship evil's might
Beware my power ��Green Lantern's light!

In short, like the power ring wielded by Hal Jordan, the strategy seems to be, "If we will it hard enough, it will happen." Certainly, the constant talk about terrorists trying to break our will, the consequences of losing our nerve or our will to fight, and the obstinate 'stay the course' mantra fits the bill.

But it's not about will to power, and it's not about a military solution. Sectarian differences have been part of the culture in the Middle East for centuries; no one has successfully made everyone sit down and play nice with each other.

Order at gunpoint will be seen for what it is ��not an opportunity for the Iraqis to express their love of freedom, or self-determination � but a wedge in the door by America to prop up a new regime.

Then, in keeping with their strategy to date, we're going to kick off a jobs program. Yessiree, that'll sort things out right quick. (What it really is, is an admission that we haven't made significant progress in rebuilding the country and economy.)

But in asking for Iraqi's current prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, to get off his ass and start cracking down on those pesky insurgents, to be tough and resolute (and then trash talk him behind his back), we begin to see that the leadership we want to help solve our short-term problem � may not be what we want to see in the long-term: a strong Shiite government that will oppress the Sunni minority.

Senator John McCain has weighed in with his idea: not just any old surge, but a sustainable surge.

That's just fucking brilliant, Johnny. And we're going to get the troops for this sustainable surge from where? It's expected that any surge is going to be a numbers game involving extending tour length for troops already there, and sending others back for their third and fourth helpings.

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