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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Iraq: Where Dems Agree

Peter Baker and Shailagh Murray are generating some buzz with their article in today’s WaPo “Democrats Split Over Position on Iraq War: Activists More Vocal As Leaders Decline To Challenge Bush.” But there’s little that is new here — it’s pretty much a standard “Dems Face Dilemma” piece. Baker and Murray provide a good summary of recent developments concerning Iraq with respect to Democratic policy (Hackett, Feingold, Sheehan etc.) and they present a few interesting comments about the wisdom of Dems quietly feeding Bush more rope as he continues to self-destruct.
Actually, the more interesting story is the widening cracks in the GOP’s foreign policy consensus (See Hagel, Chuck on the front page of today’s edition of any American newspaper).
Yes, it would be swell if all Democrats agreed on what to do about Iraq. But that is about as likely to occurr as Bush’s daughters enlisting to serve in Baghdad. Dems can ill afford hand-wringing over the fact that we do not have a unified position on Iraq, and probably won’t. But let’s do emphasize what the overwhelming majority of Democrats agree on:

Bush lied about Iraq having WMD’s and being a threat to U.S. national security.
Bush, Rumsfeld & Co have bungled the occupation of Iraq through poor preparation, mismanagement and bad decisions and gotten us into a horrific quagmire.
Halliburton and other firms favoring the GOP have gotten filthy rich on the bloodshed in Iraq.
At the present casualty rate, more Americans will have been killed in Iraq by next summer than were killed in the attacks on 9-11.
We have already spent $250 billion taxpayer dollars in Iraq, and there are credible forecasts indicating that the final tab could reach $1 trillion.
Although there have been no more attacks within U.S. borders since 9-11, our “homeland security” is highly porus, with many needed measures, such as stronger port security, left sorely underfunded.
There are probably more terrorists willing to do harm to the U.S. today as a direct result of U.S. oocupation of Iraq than there were before we invaded Iraq.
We have a manpower shortage in our armed services, and new enlistments have slowed to a trickle.
Gas Prices are higher than ever, and expected to go up even further.
Flip-flopping on what to do about Iraq is clearly a loser. Dem candidates all across the dove-hawk spectrum must state a clear policy on Iraq, while leaving enough room to adjust to changing realities.
Bin laden is alive and taunting the U.S, and he ain’t in Iraq.

These points of agreement, which are shared by a huge majority of Democrats ought to be enough to project powerful campaign themes that can resonate in ’06 and ’08 in every congressional district. If we can’t present a compelling foreign policy alternative to the Bush administration’s litany of blunders, we don’t deserve to win.