As war deaths rise over the next 23 months, opposition to the war will grow, acrimony will grow, bitterness will grow, and recriminations will escalate. Republicans have already split over the surge, with the opponents being called cowards by their colleagues. Democrats will soon divide over whether to cut off funds. For Harry Reid cannot long hide the division in the Democratic caucus, and Nancy Pelosi and John Murtha are prepared to fight it out with fellow Democrats in the House.
A sure sign this war is unlikely to end well is the scavenger hunt in the War Party to fix responsibility for failure on anyone but themselves. In Vanity Fair, the "cakewalk" crowd renounces Rumsfeld and Bush. The war was an integral part of our brilliant strategy, they say. But we cannot be held responsible for the incompetence of those charged with carrying it out.
The John Edwards Democrats say: If only we had known then what we know now, we would never have voted for war. And they apologize. But questions remain unanswered. Why did you get it wrong and vote for Bush's war, when Russ Feingold, Ted Kennedy and half the Democratic Party got it right and voted no?
And if Edwards & Co. were fatally wrong on the critical vote of their careers, approving the greatest blunder in U.S. history, without doing due diligence, how are they qualified, and why should they be rewarded with the White House?
The McCain Republicans blame the failures on Rumsfeld for not stopping the looting in Baghdad, or on Paul Bremer for disbanding the Iraqi Army and purging the Baathists, or on the generals for fighting the war the wrong way, or on the Pentagon for not demanding the troops needed to win.
The White House is preparing a case that the war has gone badly because Syria and Iran have provided terrorists free passage into Iraq and the most lethal of the weapons killing Americans. And not only the U.S. naval and air buildup in the Gulf, but reports of attacks on the Republican Guard in the non-Persian, non-Shia regions of Iran suggest someone has decided that Tehran will pay a price in blood for meddling in Iraq.
The Iraq Study Group blames no one for the disaster, but urges that we turn around and get out, the idea being that if we cannot save Iraq, as least we can save the American establishment from a political civil war breaking out here in the USA.
The real regime crisis that is coming may be right here in River City.