09 April 2008

Your Life as Political Capital

Perhaps I'm being morose, but I find being a pawn in a complex game of politics as slightly exhilarating, especially with such a unique front-row seat during the conflict of the decade. Much like knights clashed amongst each other during our feudal days, it seems the Iraq war has become a mere tool of noblemen playing dangerous parlor games with each other. Instead of a brutal conquest for land, the loss of life in Iraq is utilized as a bumper sticker or sound bite to boost poll numbers. I came to this realization by reading this Politico article:

Once Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker have returned to Iraq, Democrats may opt to revisit a measure sponsored by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) that would require the type of 12-month-on, 12-month-off deployment schedule that was defeated during several Senate votes last year. Democrats may also push to have some of the $102.5 billion the Pentagon is expected to seek in the next supplemental shifted from the ongoing efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan to longer-term investments in equipment and military infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Republicans will be mining the testimony from Petraeus and other military leaders for their own rhetorical weaponry. For at least the past year, Republicans have tied the issue of readiness to the need for quick passage of supplemental spending bills. In addition to what military leaders call “rebalancing” the force, the Army needs a continuing flow of equipment, which gets interrupted when defense bills fall prey to the schedule of Congress.

Abu Muqawama touched on the political horseplay as well. Is this whole testimony from our two military and civilian leadership in Iraq solely a campaign stop for competing political factions? That's why I've always been so interested in politics. It's not simply a game where you blindly cheer on one side or another like football, it affects the very foundation and future of your existence. I came to Iraq because I wanted to "see what's going on". While my Green Zone logic will prevent me from knowing the ground truth of those outside the wire only know, I have had a pretty good chance to see how this war has affected American public opinion and DC politics. It's been quite the rollercoaster ride. If you want to know about Iraq from an apolitical point of view, I suggest reading the opening statements from Crocker and Petraeus (for laughs here's the one The Tank thought was going to be released). Other than that, every other pundit in the media and elsewhere will have their own interpretation based on a political agenda. Neo-conservatives will accentuate the progress, but neglect the shortfalls. Anti-war folks will only focus on the negatives and current challenges (this month, it's Shi'ite militias backed by Iran, next month maybe it will be invasion of the body snatchers). It's all so fascinating. Sit back and enjoy the ride. People out on the ground probably don't share this bizarre viewpoint that I do, as their life is in much more danger. I hope, for their sake, that they are shielded and unaware of the political strife back in America, and all the bullshit.

Are we all pawns?


David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 04/08/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.

membrain said...

It's pretty funny that The Tank bought Uncle Jimbo's bogus Petraeus report.

Is there still incoming in the Green Zone?

Stay safe LT.

Anonymous said...

I just made the mistake of spending 15 minutes of my life that I'll never get back watching a cable news show. Before I managed to tear myself away, I was treated to a breathless review of how each of the three candidates for President (Clinton, McCain, Obama) would "cherry pick" from today's testimony to support their stance on the war. I wish they had spent the 15 minutes reviewing facts related to the testimony (and the grandstanding of the politicians) instead. Stop telling me how you think people are going to spin the information and provide a critical evaluation of the information. I guess that's too much to expect from the news anymore.

LT Nixon said...


Political grandstanding seems to be the standard. I agree.


I'm not sure what The Tank was thinking.

Anonymous said...

There was a point brought up yesterday about would the grandstanding from candidates and the media overshadow the statements by the general -- and, yes, evidently that is true.

There were more "snippets" on the "news" of what everybody thought and what their own interpretations were than what he actually said.

Just seemed like vultures hovering and screeching.