October 22, 2006

The Crux Of The Problem

As my good friend at the Valley Press points out in an unsigned editorial (that I know perfectly well he wrote) it's clear that the Republicans in the Administration have made a bloody, awful mess of things. But no one has yet explained how they could have done better.

With just over two weeks to go to the mid-term elections, the Republicans stand on the brink of losing Congress as a result of the terrible job they have done running the economy (which actually is not terrible despite an enormous deficit) and running the war. A war which, as was pointed out to me this morning at breakfast, has now lasted longer than the formal definition of America's involvement in World War II. Things have gone so badly that it's clear that the Republicans have lost their mandate to govern.

But the Democrats simply don't deserve to win -- because they haven't come up with anything better. They haven't been able to identify any singificant strategic mistake that the Republicans have made. They haven't been able to point to any policy or decision which, once the war started, they would have made differently. Sure, some of them wouldn't have gone to war with Iraq in the first place and maybe that was the right decision at the time. But since we've done it, and a lot of Democrats thought it was a good idea to go to war too, it's a bit late to be arguing about that now.

So the crux of the problem is that no one really knows what to do. Our alternatives seem to be 1) keep on doing what we're doing (a strategy otherwise known as "stay the course"), 2) immediately pull out and bring our troops home, 3) escalate the extent of our occupation of the government, removing the facade of setting up a democracy, or 4) something that no one else has thought of yet. If anyone can think of what exactly option #4 might be, please feel free to leave a comment -- because numbers 1-3 all look like poor ideas.

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