Wednesday, August 22, 2007

This is what sadness looks like

I've been blogging for over a year and following politics for quite a bit longer than that, but this has to be the most disgusting thing I've ever come across.

Democratic leaders in congress had planned to use August recess to raise the heat on Republicans to break with President Bush on the Iraq war. Instead, Democrats have been forced to recalibrate their own message in the face of recent positive signs on the security front, increasingly focusing their criticisms on what those military gains have not achieved: reconciliation among Iraq's diverse political factions.

...The first installment of Petraeus's testimony is scheduled to be delivered before the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees on the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks...

The leading Democratic candidates for the White House have fallen into line with the campaign to praise military progress while excoriating Iraqi leaders for their unwillingness to reach political accommodations that could end the sectarian warfare.

Advisers to both said theirs were political as well as substantive statements, part of a broader Democratic effort to frame Petraeus's report before it is released next month by preemptively acknowledging some military success in the region. Aides to several Senate Democrats said they expect that to be a recurring theme in the coming weeks, as lawmakers return to hear Petraeus's testimony and to possibly take up a defense authorization bill and related amendments on the war.
I've long understood, mentally, that democrats are invested in defeat when it comes to the war. That much is easy to see. But I don't think it really hit home, ever, until I saw my own predictions of reversal, maneuvering, and flag-waving come true.

There are things you come to expect in politics: lies, bragging, half-truths and illusions. These, unfortunately, appear to be "necessary evils" of the game. I would hope that an honest person could win a campaign without them; but then again why would an honest person run for office?

Normally these things don't bother me. It's par for the course. You may as well get upset at the rain or the sun. Politicians lie, and Sunday comes before Monday. I get that. We can all accept lies and pandering: these are small evils.

But there are things which should be inviolate. I know, invoking words like "should" and "ought" involve all sorts of moral complications that liberals (and politicians) aren't too concerned with. And yet the point remains. There are topics, actions, and positions which really should be taboo.

One of these is treason. Define it any way you like: I'll stick with my pet definition of "performing acts with a conscious effort to undermine one's own nation or group". Treason for political gain shouldn't be on the table.

Still, there it is. On the news, in the paper, on their blogs. Political double talk that displays, if not outright treason, a callous indifference to toeing the line. A willingness to fight the war (as opposed to fighting the war) for no other reason than to gain votes.

Victory at any cost is usually ugly; victory at the cost of national flagellation doubly so.

At some point it begins to wear on me. I can't really stomach that level of duplicity. And obsequious repetition of the party line seems to me to be an empty excuse. Some things are just wrong.

The quotes tell the whole story. Two politicians speak out, one because she doesn't want to sound as if she's on board with this whole "winning" thing, and another because, perhaps, he's slowly waking to the reality, the dull, aching horror of what the democrats are actually doing here.
"I don't know of anybody who isn't desperately supportive of the military," she said. "People want to say positive things. But it's difficult to say positive things in this environment and not have some snarky apologist for the White House turn it into some clipped phraseology that looks like support for the president's policies."
"We should sit down with Republicans, see what would be acceptable to them to end the war and present it to the president, start negotiating from the beginning," he said, adding, "I don't know what the [Democratic] leadership is thinking. Sometimes they've done things that are beyond me."
If you're willing to sacrifice the nation that birthed you, that shelters your ambition, that promotes and enables your freedom (even the freedom to attack and destroy) what won't you do?

What good is ruling a nation that you ruined along the way to the throne?