Sunday, November 05, 2006

"This is not an election any more, it's an intervention!"

Wednesday November 1

Bush called a press conference on Wednesday to state that both Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney would keep their jobs until the end of Bush's presidency in 2008, then he went further and added that both Rumsfeld and Cheney "are doing fantastic jobs and I strongly support them."

From Yahoo news:

Democrats and Republicans alike have called for Rumsfeld's resignation, arguing he has mishandled the war in Iraq where more than 2,800 members of the U.S. military have died since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. Cheney has faced sharp criticism for his hardline views. In recent polling, less than 40 percent of respondents had a favorable view of Cheney and about a third had a favorable view of Rumsfeld.

Bush said he valued Cheney's advice and judgment.

"The good thing about Vice President Cheney's advice is, you don't read about it in the newspaper after he gives it," the president said. While Cheney was re-elected with Bush for four years, there has been recurring speculation that he might step down, perhaps for health reasons. As a practical matter, Bush could ask the vice president to leave if he wanted.

Bush credited Rumsfeld with overseeing wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan while overhauling the military. "I'm pleased with the progress we're making," the president said. He replied in the affirmative when asked if he wanted Rumsfeld and Cheney to stay with him until the end.

Now what's interesting about this is not what Bush said - I think we all know by now that he's not in the habit of questioning those who tell him what he wants to hear - but what the response was from some on the right who were once supporters, some of whom still identify as conservative.

Here's journalist and political commentator Andrew Sullivan, former editor of The New Republic who writes the conservative blog The Daily Dish. He defines himself as a conservative but has dissociated himself from the Republican Party in recent years due to his ideological and policy disagreements with the Bush regime. Sullivan strongly supported the decision to go to war in Iraq. He has generally been hawkish in the war on terror, arguing that weakness would embolden terrorists. However, he has harshly criticized the Bush administration for its postwar efforts, especially regarding the numbers of troops, protection of munitions, and treatment of prisoners.

From The Daily Dish:
George W. Bush just gave the most powerful reason for voting Democratic next Tuesday. He has reiterated unconditional support for the two architects of the chaos in Iraq, Cheney and Rumsfeld. He intends to keep Rumsfeld in his job until 2008! Why not a medal of freedom while he's at it?

Let me put this kindly: anyone who believes that Donald Rumsfeld has done a "fantastic job" in Iraq is out of his mind. The fact that such a person is president of the United States is beyond disturbing. But then this is the man who told Michael Brown he was doing a "heckuva job." And, yes, our Iraq policy begins to look uncannily like the Katrina response.

The president, in other words, has just proved that he is utterly unhinged from reality, in a state of denial truly dangerous for the world. He needs an intervention. Think of this election as an intervention against a government in complete denial and capable of driving the West off a cliff. You can't merely abstain now. Bush just raised the stakes. And he must be stopped.

And here are Sullivan and author, journalist and literary critic Christopher Hitchens (formerly a Trotskyite, now describing himself as "on the same side as the neo-conservatives"), on CNN, slamming Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, the Republicans and the War on Iraq. It's quite compelling stuff.