Shifting Ground?

SHIFTING GROUND?….I don’t know if this is a Walter Cronkite moment or anything, but conservative Democrat John Murtha has decided that things are going so badly in Iraq that we need to withdraw now. Not on a timetable. Now.

I said over a year ago, and now the military and the Administration agrees, Iraq can not be won “militarily.” I said two years ago, the key to progress in Iraq is to Iraqitize, Internationalize and Energize. I believe the same today. But I have concluded that the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is impeding this progress.

….My plan calls:

  • To immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces.

  • To create a quick reaction force in the region.

  • To create an over-the-horizon presence of Marines.

  • To diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq.

….Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the U.S. can not accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring them home.

Over at The Corner, even Rod Dreher was impressed:

As I listened to it, I could feel the ground shift. Murtha, as you know, is not a Pelosi-style Chardonnay Democrat; he’s a crusty retired career Marine who reminds me of the kinds of beer-slugging Democrats we used to have before the cultural left took over the party….From where I sit, conservatives would be fools not to take this man seriously.

My prediction: we’ve already started to see this, but I think Republicans are about to crumble. Pressure is going to mount on the White House to use the December elections as an excuse to declare victory and go home, fueled by equal parts disgust over Dick Cheney’s lobbying for the right to torture; unease even among Republicans that the president wasn’t honest during the marketing of the war; lack of progress on the ground in Iraq; Congress reasserting its independence of the executive; a genuine belief that the American presence has become counterproductive; and raw electoral fear, what with midterm elections looming in less than a year.

I also think the Rove/Cheney/Bush counterattack is going to backfire. Congressional Republicans are looking for cover right now, and I don’t think they believe that a ferocious partisan attack from the White House is what they need right now. The public is looking for answers, not administration attack dogs on the evening news every day, but this particular White House doesn’t know any other way. It’s going to cost them.