The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The "Blame Iraq First" Crowd

I suspect this is a highly desirable outcome for Republicans, even though the elections are over. Iraq will still be very much on the table in 2008, and if the GOP can blame Iraqis instead of themselves for the chaos, they'll be more than happy to do it.

From troops on the ground to members of Congress, Americans increasingly blame the continuing violence and destruction in Iraq on the people most affected by it: the Iraqis.

Even Democrats who have criticized the Bush administration's conduct of the occupation say the people and government of Iraq are not doing enough to rebuild their society. The White House is putting pressure on the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and members of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group have debated how much to blame Iraqis for not performing civic duties.

This marks a shift in tone from earlier debate about the responsibility of the United States to restore order after the 2003 invasion, and it seemed to gain currency in October, when sectarian violence surged. Some see the talk of blame as the beginning of the end of U.S. involvement.

It would be very foolish of Democrats to let this become the new frame for the war-- whether the Iraqis are doing their part or not is debatable (it's probably pretty damn hard to build a police force and military from scratch in the midst of a civil war), but they certainly didn't start the war.