Pay As You Go: Balancing the Body Count
Sometime this week, Bush will share his “New Way Forward” with us, at least, as much as he is willing to. It’s already known that he will order more troops into the melee for a free and independent Iraq, part of the overall Tumult on Terror, but according to this Sunday’s New York Times, US troops “will be sent only if the Iraqis also increase their own forces.”
So it’s time for a little Orwellian revisionism. Let’s put the phrase uttered by our concussive Commander-in-chief in 2004, “When they stand up…,” into the the true-memory machine. I think he said – wait, I thought it was – geez! My head is spinning…can’t think…ugh…seem to remember “...we’ll stand down,” but OW! The pressure to conform! My brain, my memory, somehow changing…and yes! It makes so much less sense to me now! I play the tape again, and I hear it clearly through the mud: “When they stand up,” so far so good, “we’ll stand up…AGAIN!”
Whew! So that’s what a change in course looks like to our Yaley Cheerleader-in-Chief.
Let’s follow this new course across to Nancy Pelosi’s House. There, in the middle of a conversation about the “pay-as-you-go” budget proposals, “The New Way Forward” flies up the steps, fills the rotunda, and blows through the caucus conference. Nancy, Steny and the rest sway slightly in their seats while the breeze of this fresh Iraq policy scatters papers about the room and lifts their hair like a gale through a palm tree.
When the wind settles, the group, dishevelled but proud, in chorus boom from the Capitol, “You got your Iraq policy in our budget policy!”
And across the Mall, a whiny twang comes screaming from the White House portico, “Don’t you go gettin‘ your budget policy in my Iraq policy. Heh. Heh.”
But behold, someone in between the two, standing atop the Washington Monument, will respond with a triumphant poke at the sky, “That’s it! Pay-as-you-go! The policy for fighting the budget and fighting the war! Yes,” the guy who thinks he has the pulse on policy will exclaim, “we’ll balance the budget with one and balance the body count with the other! It’s genius!”
And then a god – who doesn’t believe in beltway compromises that sound like they make more sense than they do and accomplish less than they sound like – will send a strategic bolt of lightning and crisp the finger poking fool.
Ahhh, to dream.
But seriously, escalating the war is not the way to elevate the lives of the people whose country and citizens our soldiers have destroyed and killed. We should be escalating the pace of withdrawal and elevating the notion of responsible leadership, but you can’t teach a new government something your own government doesn’t understand itself. It’s so hard to tell these days which government could use a “New Way Forward” more, whatever that means. I guess it’s better than the “Old Way Forward”. At this point, I’d just settle for either a “New Way” or any “Way Forward.”