Staying the course

From an Op-Ed in today's The New York Times:

Perhaps most troubling, Mr. Bush is not leveling about where things stand with the war. He continues to stay on message, as he did with the platitude he offered last week: "We will stay the course; we will complete the job in Iraq." The public knows that things in Iraq are not going well on any number of levels, and deserves a fuller, more honest discussion led by the commander in chief.

Yes, the nation does deserve a "fuller and more honest discussion" of this "war", and that is exactly what Cindy Sheehan is bravely trying to initiate. But, based on this administration's past performance, there is little reason to hope that there will be any substantive discussion or a sober reevaluation of just how badly things have gone wrong in Iraq. There will only be more sliming of patriotic citizens like her who are bravely exercising their constitutional right in calling for some straight answers.

"Staying the course", as Bush simplistically boasts, is no longer an option in Iraq. It cannot be. At the clip we're going, the nation is rapidly looking at upwards of 2000 soldiers dead, with no end in sight, despite Dick Cheney's outsized fantasies about the insurgency being in its "last throes".

And now, just at the point when the U.N. will be more important than ever in beginning the long, slow road of at least attempting to resolve this mess, Bush again shows his utter contempt for our democratic system of government and rudely bypasses the Senate to install John Bolton, a coarse, rightwing thug who shows all the diplomatic flair of a bull in a china shop.

But even as Drudge and the smear machine on the right begin their right-on-cue attacks on Cindy Sheehan, ridiculously accusing her of "flip-flopping" in her support for Bush (a charge already debunked because, as is all too typical, Drudge took her supposedly offending comments completely out of context), Salon's Eric Boehlert points out that millions of other citizens have certainly changed their opinions of the war. That's what intelligent people do, when presented with fresh evidence and facts; they allow their feelings and beliefs on a given subject to evolve with them. But, as Shakes Sis pointed out in the brilliant post below, we are not dealing with rational people on the right. You are either with their rigid, foaming-at-the-mouth ideology, or you're to be utterly destroyed. Rush Limbaugh, who has never battled anything more formidable than the childproof cap on the top of a pill bottle, recently referred to former Ohio Congressional candidate and active Marine Paul Hackett, a decorated Iraq veteran who saw multiple tours of duty (including Fallujah) as a "staff puke" (the RNC declared that it would "bury him"), and millions of his listeners likely nodded their heads in unison as he slandered a veteran.

If progressives and, I'll proudly say it, liberals are going to "stay the course" anywhere, it needs to be to hold the line against the avalanche of slime coming from the right as best as possible, and not let our support for either Cindy Sheehan, or the far too many others like her who've paid the ultimate sacrifice for this misguided war, lag even a bit. Patriotism and faith are not the sole province of the Republican Party, despite the sanctimonious puling from some of its more prominent members, and sooner or later, this administration must be held accountable for what it has done.

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