One tactic Republicans never tire of deploying is impugning the patriotism of Democrats who want to end/de-fund U.S. military occupation of Iraq. As Bush recently said in just one version of a frequently-uttered GOP meme:
…Members of the House and the Senate passed a bill that substitutes the opinions of politicians for the judgment of our military commanders.
One of the more effective responses for Dems is to call the roll of military brass who also believe Bush’s Iraq misadventure is a disaster. It is a lengthening list, and The Nation‘s John Nichols has a round-up of the latest quotes of America’s more thoughtful military leaders here. A couple of samples from Nichols’ post:
The President vetoed our troops and the American people,” says retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste. “His stubborn commitment to a failed strategy in Iraq is incomprehensible. He committed our great military to a failed strategy in violation of basic principles of war. His failure to mobilize the nation to defeat world wide Islamic extremism is tragic. We deserve more from our commander-in-chief and his administration.
Or this, from another former Major General, Paul Eaton:
This administration and the previously Republican-controlled legislature have been the most caustic agents against America’s Armed Forces in memory. Less than a year ago, the Republicans imposed great hardship on the Army and Marine Corps by their failure to pass a necessary funding language. This time, the President of the United States is holding our Soldiers hostage to his ego.
There’s more from our military leaders in Nichols’ article. Nichols sums it up:
Add the public statements of the retired generals together with the behind-the-scenes expressions of frustration from current commanders and they form the most powerful tool that Congressional Democrats have in what will ultimately be a negotiation not with Bush but with the American people–a negotiation that, the president well understands, is about the question of which side is playing politics and which side is listening to military commanders and supporting the troops.
Democrats would do well to keep a file on the growing list of military leaders and former leaders who have the integrity to tell the truth about Bush’s Iraq policy, and Dems should be ready to cite their names and message points. Republicans will be less quick to impugn their patriotism.