BUSH-CHENEY: THEY ACTUALLY THOUGHT THEY COULD UNITE IRAQ, WHILE DIVIDING AMERICA"
Well, well. Tom Friedman has a blistering column in today's NY Times. It's behind the subscription wall, so I'll excerpt:
One benchmark the Bush team has been urging the Iraqi government to meet is to rescind its broad “de-Baathification” program — the wholesale purging of Baathists after the fall of Saddam — which has alienated many Sunnis and hampered national reconciliation.
But while the Bush team has been lecturing the Iraqi Shiites to limit de-Baathification in Baghdad, it was carrying out its own de-Democratization in the Justice Department in Washington. We would feel that we had failed in Iraq if we read that Sunnis were being purged from Iraq’s Ministry of Justice by Shiite hard-liners loyal to Moktada al-Sadr — but the moral equivalent of that is exactly what the Bush administration was doing here. What kind of example does that set for Iraqis?
Only a united America could have the patience and fortitude to heal a divided Iraq — and we simply don’t have that today. Why? Because George Bush and Dick Cheney asked everyone to check their politics at the door when it came to Iraq, because victory there was so important — everyone but themselves. They argued that the war in Iraq was the central front of the central struggle of our age — an unusual war, a war against terrorism and the pathologies that produce it — but then they indulged in the most rancid politics as usual at home.
They actually thought they could unite Iraq, while dividing America.
Whenever Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney had a choice between seeking political advantage at home or acting in a bipartisan fashion to buy more unity, time and space to do all the heavy lifting needed in Iraq, they opted for political advantage.
Democrats need to be careful, though, that they don’t let their rage with the hypocrisy of Mr. Bush make them totally crazy, and blind them to the fact that they — we — still need a credible plan to deal with the very real threat to open societies posed by Islamist terrorism. But I understand that rage. After all, who can ask more soldiers to sacrifice their lives in Iraq for an administration that wouldn’t even sacrifice its politics?