Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Era of Lost Leverage

Now that the Petraeus Show has left town, Washington is in limbo and likely to stay there for some time.

Democrats don’t have the votes to, forgive the expression, move on to mandate troop withdrawal as Congressional Republicans cower under the thin cover of “Return on Success,” depriving anti-war legislators of any leverage to breach the barriers of Bush vetoes.

In Iraq, Bush has no leverage to move Maliki et al toward the national reconciliation that would justify a claim of victory. Just as the Democrats were boxed in by the argument that, if you announce troop withdrawal, the enemy can wait you out so is Bush boxed in by the reality that, in announcing the troops are staying, he has removed any urgency on the part of sectarian factions to settle their differences. They can wait us out and keep hoping to wear us down.

Call it stability, stalemate or quagmire but we need leadership to open new diplomatic possibilities in the Middle East before Cheney persuades his puppet to get us unstuck by attacking Iran.

If they won’t make a move to end the fiasco in Iraq, Congressional Republicans and Condoleeza Rice can save what’s left of their reputations by getting to work to stop that.

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