Courtesy of Peter Beinart, Tim Russert, and David Brooks, it looks like we have a new concern troll meme for 2008: Don’t Mention The War. It’s old news, you see – people are tired of talking about it, and besides The Surge is totally working! Brooks even claims that America is now in a "postwar" mindset despite, well, the pesky little fact that WE’RE STILL AT WAR.
Shockingly, 36% of Americans haven’t gotten the memo, and foolishly insist that the all-over-but-the-shooting war in Iraq is the #1 issue that they’ll consider in choosing a president. The economy comes in a distant second at 16%, despite the always-insightful Timmeh’s proclamation that 2008 will be a "lunch pail" election. (Timmeh’s a blue-collar man of the people, he’s attuned to such things.)
Worse yet for Republicans, it doesn’t sound like a pretend-the-war-is-already-over strategy is going to be viable for very much longer:
A couple of days ago I wrote about how the new Bush-Maliki deal might undermine any gains we have made on the security front in Iraq over the last three months. This deal gave Bush an "enduring" presence in the form of bases on top of Iraqi oil fields and it gave Maliki protection from all other Iraqi factions. I thought this might irritate some other folks in Iraq, to say the least. And it has.
His name is Moqtada al-Sadr. And one day he is going to come for Iraq….
Now that Bush and Maliki have made their intentions clear and Sadr has had three months off to recoup and consolidate his power, he is almost ready for battle. Hence, the war cry from last week and the Mahdi Army (Sadr’s army) now walking around the streets in martyr’s white. They’re coming. Not if, but when. They’re coming.
Anyone who thinks Sadr is going to let Bush and Maliki run Iraq and be satisfied with crumbs off their table doesn’t know Sadr at all…. What happens when the insurgency picks up intensity again? What happens when the Mahdi Army rejoins the battle?
…I just hope we’re not underestimating them. I also hope we’re not basking in the glow of the surge’s fake success. The violence has gone down in Iraq, but it’s not because we have more troops there. It’s because the Sunnis and the Mahdi Army have stopped fighting us … for now. But what happens when they come for us again? Are we ready?
How are the Republicans going to play off Iraq as yesterday’s news when our troops are in an all-out war with the Mahdi Army?