The November mid-term elections are viewed as a referendum on George W. Bush’s failed Iraq war. Voters turned out the GOP leadership of Congress because they want America out of Iraq.
So, when are we leaving?
We’re not. Not now. Not anytime soon. Perhaps never.
You might have missed the point amid all the news attention aimed at the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes sham marriage or the Britney Spears-Kevin Federline split but as soon as the election was over, anyone with a "lets get out of Iraq" message got shoved into the background.
The new Democratic leadership in Congress is talking about finding "workable solutions" in Iraq, which is Washington doublespeak for "we don’t have the slightest damn idea how to get out of this mess."
Bottom line: We’re stuck there, right in the middle of a deepening civil war, and too many more American soldiers will die because nobody in power has a "workable solution" that will get us out of an uncontrollable situation we created.
The one Democrat who spoke out the loudest about the need to get the hell out of Iraq – Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha – got bitch slapped by his own party in his bid for a leadership post. True, Murtha also has some ethical problems but many Democrats admit privately they are uncomfortable with Murtha’s staunch "get out of Iraq quickly" stance.
Whatever message the voters may or may not have sent on Election Day is lost as the new leadership forms and moderation becomes the mantra of the day. Hardcore Democratic activists may want Bush impeached but it won’t happen in the new Congress. Incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and new Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have made that clear.
And even the staunchest, most liberal anti-war Democrats now say "more study" is needed to deal with Iraq.
Problem is, once the election ended and the rhetoric cooled, the new power structure in Congress realized that Iraq is, as it long has been, a no-win scenario with few options.
As the country plunges deeper and deeper into uncontrollable civil war, Pentagon leaders say the only military solution is more troops on the ground. Military solutions, however, are seldom compatible with political ones and few want to send in even more American troops to die in a fruitless cause.
But withdrawal is a tough call because abandoning the country at this point would leave it in worse shape than it was under Saddam – not to mention its growing status as a fertile spawning ground for future terrorists.
So don’t look for any resolutions calling for withdrawal to emerge anytime soon from the new Congress. Don’t expect a timetable because one ain’t coming.
Like it or not, we’re in Iraq for the long haul and we may never be able to leave. The same war that defined the 2006 election will most likely shape the 2008 Presidential year and perhaps even political campaigns into the next decade.