A weekend with the opposition

This might also be a bit ambitious for an initial foray, but I’m faced with an upcoming six days that are sure to be equal parts frustrating, enlightening, mystifying and educational.

My wife and I grew up in Nebraska and have landed in Arizona, where we’ve lived for ten of the last 16 years. We both fall squarely into the liberal democrat camp, making us minorities in either state. My wife’s parents have arrived to spend the next six days with us and our kids. My father-in-law is a Republican, most of the time, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why he would be. I think he’s more of a “social values” Republican, of the church-going variety. He sure shouldn’t be, based on financial issues, and he also spent quite a chunk of his life in a union. He knows I’m one of them durned liberals, and we’ll dance around the topics from time to time when we are together, until we just agree to disagree.

With the election coming up so soon, I think the topics will be sure to come up more frequently, and for this weekend, I’m going to try to engage the discussions, rather than avoid them. I have no idea how many days it can go on, or if my wife will issue a cease-and-desist order before it’s over, but we’ll see how it goes.

This afternoon we chatted about Scott Kleeb’s chances in western Nebraska’s third congressional district race and about criminal prosecutions of Enron executives. The likelihood of a nationwide “Throw all the bums out” sentiment on election day and the issue of term limits in the U.S. Senate and House also came up. I’m still not sure how the recent Republican meltdowns and scandals may have affected his thinking, but I feel like he is representative of the type of Republican who would turn against the party based on their recent activities.

Or maybe I’m naively and hopelessly optimistic. I’ve been accused of that before. I may be, but I just don’t see much mileage in the alternative.

5 more today….

Five more U.S. soldiers died today in Anbar province, bringing the death toll for the month to 96. That’s a total that hasn’t been exceeded since January, 2005, twenty-two months ago. And what kind of administration response is there to this carnage? A change in semantics. Whether we were ever “stay-the-course” or not now seems to be the major discourse. But you know what? Whatever we were, or are, it’s not working! And we still haven’t heard the Bush administration utter a single new, original, different thought, about what we should do.

We are apparently putting a lot of hope in this Baker report, that won’t be released until sometime after the election. Because apparently he is going to be some kind of genius who will figure out a way for us to “win the war” and make everything better. Harps will play, angels will descend, deus ex machina, and we will finally be greeted as liberators.

And we aren’t going to see this report until a minimum of 13 days from now (Baker hinted that the report might not be out until early next year), because we wouldn’t want it to sway the election. We wouldn’t want the public to possibly hear that we might be doing something wrong over there. Well, by my math, that means, that at the current daily rate for this month, that another 48 U.S. soldiers will die before we even start to talk about doing something differently. That means another 48 of these will be coming home.

How does a commander-in-chief explain to the families of those 48 that it was not a good political idea to have asked for an idea or a report about some possible ways to have prevented such a thing from happening? Will he say that he was worried about how the report might have played out in AZ-05 or NC-11? That he and his chosen advisors weren’t bright enough to have come up with these ideas on their own?  

As near as I can tell, there’s only one sure way to stop this death toll from going higher. It’s called troop withdrawal. You can call it “cut and run”, you can call it “defeatist thinking”, apparently now, you can even call it “stay the course”. I don’t care what you call it. Just start doing it. Because our troops are currently stuck in the middle of a civil war where the only thing the two warring sides can agree upon is that they don’t want us there.

I’m just saying…….