Josh Marshall on political preparation for war with Iraq:
What’s going on? Who knows? And that uncertainty applies to pretty much everything about administration Iraq policy right now. What we’re doing, how we’re going to do it, why we’re going to do it. Everything.
The administration’s approach to building up to this conflict turns out to be a reductio ad absurdum of its notorious addiction to secrecy. They say it’s premature for the president to discuss why, when and how we might be going to war or what the costs might be because he has not yet made a decision about whether to do it at all. Until then, everything’s under wraps. Yet this is belied by numerous statements that make the president’s decision — in favor of war — seem quite clear. In fact, if the president hasn’t made a decision he is making his country play the fool on the world stage since he and his advisors are clearly threatening war. Either he’s not leveling with the country when he says he hasn’t made a decision or he’s engaging in a classic case of talking loudly and carrying a very little stick.
Marshall is right. Congress is not going to declare war on Iraq — they couldn’t even bring themselves to do more than “authorize force” against al Qaeda. Which, however unfairly, places a burden on Bush to go directly to the American people and make his case.
I’m convinced. If you’re reading this site, odds are you’re convinced, too. But for the sake of our republican form of government, some sort of consensus must be shown — and the latest ABCWASHINGTONPOSTTIMEREUTERSAP poll doesn’t cut it.
The White House doesn’t need to convince our “friends” in Europe. We don’t need to beg permission from the butchers of Beijing. The Saudis can take their concerns and fold them until they’re all sharp corners. This fight concerns us, and terror-supporting states. If other nations want to climb on board with us or them, fine. If not, shut up.
But the American people deserve to be in the loop; it’s the blood of our sons and daughters, fathers and mothers being spilled.