Monday, January 08, 2007

Joe Lieberman is a dangerous idiot

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I may have turned on Lieberman later than others, but turned I have. And now the only reason to support him at all, or at least to put up with him, is that narrow 51-49 Democratic majority in the Senate. Otherwise, what's the point? I would like to call myself a Big Tent Democrat, and it's precisely that persuasion that kept me from turning on him when so many others did, but it's now all too clear that he isn't much of a Democrat at all. The majority may still be worth it, but how much more do we have to put up with?

At the AEI with McCain over the weekend to promote the so-called "surge" of troops in Iraq that is expected to be announced on Wednesday, Lieberman referred to Bush, according to Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson, as a "great leader". I'm sure he meant it. Which means there is no reason to take anything he says as anything other than grotesque delusion.

Lieberman also suggested that critics of the surge "ought to at least let us try it". Us. For he is evidently one of them. He, McCain, Bush, and the many neocons who still believe in the madness of the Iraq War. And it doesn't even matter if the surge is a good idea or a bad idea. We should trust them. We should let them give it a go.

What's "the worst that could happen"? For Lieberman, who used those exact words, the worst that could happen is surge-related partisanship in Washington, a claim that is unconscionably stupid and irresponsible. As Dickerson puts it in response: "I believe, senator, that the 'worst that could happen' is that a significant number of the 20,000-30,000 troops we send to police the hornets’ nest of Baghdad could come home in body bags."

But Lieberman has no clue. Bush is a "great leader". And the surge, which he can't even defend, is justified not because it's the right thing to do but because it's something to do. Hey, it might work. And McCain supports it. So it must be a great idea.

What makes Lieberman a dangerous idiot as opposed to any other idiot who thinks Bush is a "great leader" is that he holds so much power in the Senate. He's still a Democrat, but that only means he still has his seniority, the ability to wreak havoc against the interests of his own party. But for how much longer? He'll either continue to cozy up to Bush and the Republicans, perhaps with dreams of a high-ranking post in his desired McCain Administration, or he'll roll over and turn Republican altogether. Then it's 50-50, Cheney comes in with the tiebreaking vote, and the Republican enablers of Bush's misadventure in Iraq return to power. All because Lieberman has lost his moral and political compass in response to one of the great blunders in American history, a war that has become a lost cause, a devastating defeat for American power and credibility around the world.

The upcoming surge -- more accurately, an escalation involving a troop increase -- will only prolong the Iraq War and make it even bloodier than it has been. The blood thus far has largely been on Bush's hands. It still will be on his hands, as well as on those of the war's architects, but the responsibility for the bloodletting that is to come must also be expanded to include both McCain and Lieberman. They've supported the war from the outset, but both have avoided being held responsible in any way for the disaster it has become. They are now two of the leading proponents of escalation. They want it. They want us to allow them to go ahead with it.

The blood -- and there will be a lot of it -- will be on their hands as well as on the hands of their "great leader".

It is truly appalling that this is what their war has come to.

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