Thanks to readers Josh and Roomie B for commenting below about this fabulously helpful CNN story:
Poland may reduce its commitment of forces to the war in Iraq by 40 percent by January 2005 and have all its troops out by the end of that year, Polish officials said Monday.
To be fair to the Polish - they do have 2,500 or so troops there - and unlike President Bush, I like to think I can appreciate the human capital side of that commitment (rather than punt them around like so many political footballs). The administration will emphasize that the pullout is to happen after the mythical, life-affirming, problem solving January elections (exceedingly helpful to base an entire campaign on future contingencies).
Reminds me of a case I worked on this summer - this part took place at a public city council meeting, so don't fret about client confidences. A particularly troublesome local attorney was fighting for his position on a commission and within the community. His parting shot - after 20 odd years working on development in the town, he had finally come up with THE answer for balancing suburban growth, ag, business, and every other interest. The threat was basically: kick me out and I'm taking my toys and going home. Huh? Seriously, THAT's an argument? Not really. Why not implement such a brillilant plan when you had the chance?
Which leads nicely into B's next point in her comments: what was up with Bush's debate statement that we're having a hard time fighting insurgents now because we expected to fight them before. ("I mean, we thought we'd whip more of them going in.") To which Roomie B responds - okay - so how would you have beat them when you expected to and why not just do that now? It's a good question.
Of course - the whole statement is even goofier:
No, what I said was that, because we achieved such a rapid victory, more of the Saddam loyalists were around. I mean, we thought we'd whip more of them going in.
But because Tommy Franks did such a great job in planning the operation, we moved rapidly, and a lot of the Baathists and Saddam loyalists laid down their arms and disappeared. I thought they would stay and fight, but they didn't.
And now we're fighting them now. And it's hard work. I understand how hard it is. I get the casualty reports every day. I see on the TV screens how hard it is. But it's necessary work.
So, we did such a great job planning that they all left and we didn't need our plan until they came back and so now we have to kill them now instead of before so you see we won but we just won for a little bit now we have to win again apparently the way we thought we'd win the first time which was slower but now we're winning longer but we're still killing lots and lots of them somewhere else so that the [not involved in Sept 11 at all] Iraqis aren't killing us here because they hate us because we're free and we're not-occupying occupiers. Get it?
And did you know it's hard work? And he apparently started watching TV. Who knew? (a blogger with more time would google-and-grab Bush/McClellan statements confirming the President's farming-out the newswatching to staff - but that blogger isn't trying to win a damn presidential election).
I suppose I should let Bush's idiocy in this debate go - since I'm sure we'll get to have a lil fun with Dick Cheney this evening. Of course, I'm already concerned about the expectations gaming on tonight and Friday. So, Kerry should've done poorly on foreign affairs (because Democrats are weak and care about - like OTHER PEOPLE) and should've waited to be great until the domestic issues. But he kicked butt already. So now, what, he should suck, just to give the newsies something over which to express shock and awe? Or should Edwards just suck to debunk that fabled fab trial ad style? If Boy Wonder slays C. Montgomery Burns tonight (exxxxcccellent), and Bush continues to blink, stupefied, into the camera, will they let us have the win?
[Note: Consider, also, Bush's oft-repeated statement: "We will fight the terrorists around the world so we do not have to face them here at home." I suppose, it makes sense. And while I obviously don't want another Sept. 11 or any sort of attack here in America, doesn't that sentence seem like the ultimate in NIMBYism? We're fighting terrorism in somebody's home, aren't we? Once on The West Wing, the President asks Will, "Why is a Kundunese life worth less to me than an American life?" Charlie replies, "I don't know, sir, but it is." It's in our nature to identify with, and wish to protect more, those who are like us: our men and women in uniform, our civilians in office towers. But does that give us license to chalk up the nearly daily high loss of Iraqi lives to acceptable collateral damage?]