Big Number of Blogs Matt gets it exactly right:
This, I think we can assume, is the fall campaign. The idea is to psyche the Democrats out. To make them think they can’t win an argument about foreign policy. To make them act like they can’t win an argument about foreign policy. And to thereby demonstrate to the American people that even the Democrats themselves lack confidence in their own ability to handle these issues.
It’s essential that the debate be joined, and joined with confidence. Rumsfeld is a buffoon. A punchline. A well-known liar. He and his bosses — Bush and Cheney — are running around the country trying to cite the failures of their own policies as a reason to entrust them with additional authority in order to continue and intensify those same failings. We’re witnessing the bitter, bitter fruits of the Iraq War. Other nations learned that they must seek nuclear weapons as soon as possible to safeguard themselves from a newly trigger happy United States of America. Muslim opinion was sharply polarized against us. Iran and Syria were told that their cooperation against al-Qaeda was no longer needed because their governments would topple soon enough. A power vacuum was left on the streets of Baghdad that parties aligned with Iran have rushed to fill. The Arab-Israeli conflict was sidelined as something that would magically resolve itself once Saddam Hussein was out of the way. And America’s allies were taught that our government was not to be relied upon — that we operated with bad intelligence and initiated wars of choice without any real plans or ideas about how to cope with the aftermath.
That’s how we got here. By listening to Bush. By listening to Cheney. By listening to Rumsfeld. The idea that we should keep on listening to them is absurd.
Right. Complaining about “politicizing” the debate is silly, not only because it’s perfectly appropriate to “politicize” questions of foreign policy but because it’s inevitable. The Democrats faced legitimate difficulties in 2002 and 2004 because wars are generally popular in the beginning, but even that’s no longer the case. They have to hit back against this nonsense hard, and given the manifest failures of Bush’s policies it’s not as if there isn’t plenty of material. And I agree that this is a good start.
In related news, according to Thomas Ricks’ Fiasco Cheney gave this speech–which, in addition to virtually every word being a lie, all but committed the administration to an invasion or Iraq–without Bush’s advance knowledge.