A PRESIDENT GONE AWOL

straightforward assessment of Bush’s failure as the commander-in-chief. “By vetoing this bill and failing to initiate an immediate and phased withdrawal, the President has effectively gone AWOL, deserting his duty post, leaving American forces with an impossible mission, suffering wholly unnecessary casualties,” argues retired Lt. Gen. William E. Odom.

Add the public statements of the retired generals together with the behind-the-scenes expressions of frustration from current commanders and they form the most powerful tool that Congressional Democrats have in what will ultimately be a negotiation not with Bush but with the American people — a negotiation that, the president well understands, is about the question of which side is playing politics and which side is listening to military commanders and supporting the troops.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid should take the message of these retired generals — along with the anti-war statements of thousands of current and returned Iraq soldiers — into the fight with Bush. And, to borrow a slightly impolitic phrase from Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Joe Biden, they should “shove it down his throat.” read more

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