The Pushback Strategy Debunked

Ken AshfordIraqLeave a Comment

Conservative blog Protein Wisdom summarizes the Bush "Pushback Strategy":

Clearly, the important administration arguments are beginning to coalesce:  1) Criticism of the war is not by itself unpatriotic 2) Similarly, answering anti-war critics is not challenging their patriotism 3) But opportunistic and cynical anti-war critics who are trying to walk back their own votes and level spurious charges at the Administration (they lied to take is into war) are themselves lying 4) These lies are hurting the country and the troops.  5) The burden of proof, in a post 911 world, was on Saddam Hussein to prove he’d disarmed; we could not wait for the threat to become imminent before acting 6) The cause the troops are fighting for is just and right 7) Iraq is moving toward freedom; and things on the ground are improving daily, regardless of what the MSM and prominent Dems would have us believe.

These points, taken together, form an easy, concise, and—most importantly—a factually correct counter-narrative to the Dem / MSM narrative . . .

Easy?  Concise?  Bwaaaaahahahahahahaha!

Let’s try (for a start) "internally contradictory".  The pushback strategy would have you believe that criticizing the war is not unpatriotic (#1 and #2), yet it "hurt(s) the country and the troops" (#4).  Query the definition of "patriotic".

But perhaps #4 does NOT contradict #1 and #2, if #4 only applies to "opportunistic and cynical anti-war critics who are trying to walk back their own votes"(#3).  Of course, that defies logical sense.  How exactly does changing one’s mind about the war (as opposed to always being against it) hurt the troops and the country?

And, of course, #3 resurrects the canard that Democrats "voted for the war".  What many of them voted for, and what they understood their vote to mean (as many said at the time), was that they gave Bush the authority to invade Iraq so Bush could go to the U.N. and get international support behind him.  Bush, at the time, was publically saying that he wasn’t even sure he intended to invade Iraq.  With trust in those statements, the Democrats supported the October resolution.  That’s far different from actually supporting invasion itself.

But, whatever.  I’m not an opportunistic and cynical war critic attempting to walk back on my vote.  I didn’t GET a vote, and if I DID, my position now is the same as it was then.  So #3 doesn’t apply to me. 

#5 is the biggest joke.  If neo-cons were really interested in Saddam meeting (or not meeting) his burden of proof, they would have allowed to let the inspectors continue to inspect Iraq.  If neo-cons were honest, with themselves if not others, they would admit that would NEVER have been satisifed with whatever proof Saddam (or inspectors) offered.

I have no problem with #6.  Assuming that "the cause the troops are fighting for" can be defined as "combating terrorism".  Of course, it avoids the chief criticism, to wit, does our presence in Iraq reduce terrorism, or increase it?  Most people, including promiment military experts and leaders, think the latter.  So saying that "the cause" is just and right does not serve as an approval of the dysfunctional way in which we achieve that goal.

And if Iraq is moving toward freedom (#7), doesn’t that mean, on some level, "Mission Accomplished"?  Doesn’t that mean we can at least discuss bringing troops home?  Or are we planning to stay until democracy there is 100% perfect, something which we didn’t (arguably) achieve until the end of our civil war some 80 years after democracy’s birth?