|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
Facts matter. They especially matter to those with some sense of responsibility at the Pentagon and in the military. That became abundantly clear when McClatchy News reported that the military won't make a single recommendation to the president on what course to pursue in Iraq. The story, detailed by my friend and VoteVets.org Vice Chairman Brandon Friedman here, has two very key quotes:Military analysts called the move unusual for an institution that ordinarily does not air its differences in public, especially while its troops are deployed in combat.
Jeffrey White, a military analyst for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy...said it suggests that the military commanders want to be able to distance themselves from Iraq strategy by making it clear that whatever course is followed is the president's decision, not what commanders agreed on.
In short, those on the ground aren't seeing progress, and don't want to suggest a policy that would be based on the premise that progress is being made. They're not seeing progress with their eyes, and they don't see it in the statistics or facts.
The result is a Department of Defense and military that is going to speak with multiple voices. If you're a soldier on the ground, that's not what you want to hear.
And finally, yesterday the Washington Post reported that the president was going to request another $50 billion for efforts in Iraq. Today, his own Defense Secretary Robert Gates said to FOX News, via his spokesman, "That's news to me."
The president, in losing control of the war in Iraq and clinging to what he wants to see, and not the reality, now has nearly a full-scale revolt in his own military that just isn't willing to go along for the ride anymore. The GAO surely interviewed a number of people on the ground for their report and got messages that didn't support the administration. The military can't come to an agreement on what to tell the president other than that this is his problem now. And the Secretary of Defense, who has strayed from the White House message a number of times, learns of administration war funding proposals from the Washington Post.
I take no joy in seeing this happen. Our troops are the best in the world. As they are fighting and dying in 130 degree heat, they've had to look to the East to see an Iraqi government that didn't care and went on vacation. Now, they look back to the West and see their department falling apart like a neglected Pinto, because this president is stubborn.
Maybe this president doesn't care because his administration is over. But I care. And I'm going to continue to care long after this president rides off into the sunset to clear brush for the rest of his life.