I don’t know why, but political rhetoric is never honest. So I’ll be honest on behalf of all politicians. The military strategy in Iraq is Go Big, Go Long. No one in Washington opposes this strategy. Iraq is a crucial front in the Long War. Get used to it.

When you cut through the rhetoric, is there really any difference between the two parties? No. They make a great deal of partisan noise over nothing. Both back the military plan and are unwilling to pass any binding changes to this plan.

I think people may actually think the Democrats mean what they say in public. Since when has that been the case? They’ve passed symbolic non-binding resolutions designed to be vetoed for little reason other than to quiet their anti-war base while they continue to vote for pro-war funding and policies.

The Democrats have not attempted to restrict the number of troops in Iraq, their rules of engagement, or anything concrete. They make vague pronouncements but otherwise defer to the Pentagon.

To be honest, if the Democrats want to create a political cover to continue supporting the war, then good for them.

So here’s the reality of the situation. The Pentagon is calling the shots in Iraq, moreso than the President or Congress.

The Republicans plan to leave 70-100k troops in Iraq for the next decade. They argue these troops will fight al-Qaeda, stabalize the Iraqi government and train its military. They call this victory.

The Democrats plan to leave 70-100k troops in Iraq for the next decade. They argue these troops will fight al-Qaeda, stabalize the Iraqi government and train its military. They call this withdrawal.

The real story is that the Pentagon wants 70-100k troops in Iraq and announced its post-surge plans. Both Parties give it the thumbs but, because, hey, politicians are retards and must defer to the experts.

When Hillary Clinton urges immediate withdrawal, she really means that the US will remain in Iraq until the year 2090, or there abouts. We may still be Iraq in the 22nd century too.

Withdrawal is very risky, even after a military victory. Militaries take their gravest loses when retreating. A rapid withdrawal could cost thousands of American casualties because it creates a security vacuum. It is generally safer to hold the line in combat than to turn your back and retreat.

Even the suggestion that the Americans might withdraw will increase attacks to pressure a retreat. Anything less than the perception of a solid, indefatigable line will encourage more attacks at the weak point. Now, that’s been a known military maxim since the ancient Greeks. It’s easily forgotten if individuals give into irrational panic and waver. The enemy realizes this and has launched attacks on American soldiers to pressure their weak point – Congress.

A safe long-term withdrawal is very time consuming during ideal circumstances. The US built a number of permanent bases in Iraq. They have mountains of equipment in the region which need to be policed up and carried out of the country. It takes the US two to five years to dismantle smaller bases during peace-time. A withdrawal of the forces in Iraq today under combat circumstances will take 5-10 years, give or take.

Counterinsurgency operations take 10 years on average. Insurgencies are slow-burn, low-casualty wars. They cannot be hurried up. The goal of a good COIN strategy is to weaken the insurgency while establishing an allied client state to govern the region.

The US will maintain bases in Kuwait, Kurdistan and selected regions of Iraq for decades to come. Iraqi forces will handle day to day security operations, while American forces act as reinforcements and rapid-reaction forces, as well as defending Iraq from foreign threats.

This will be a long-term plan, similar to the establishment of bases in South Korea and Germany. But how many politicians are brave enough to say “Just 100 more years to go in Iraq!” The Democrats are in a bad situation because of the antics of the anti-war base. How can they explain that they support the Pentagon’s plan in Iraq? Well, they pass non-binding resolutions condemning war in the abstract, then vote to give the Pentagon everything it needs. Now that takes leadership.

US News reports that the momentum is shifting to the Republican Party on Iraq.

With congressional Democrats still groping for a unified Iraq withdrawal strategy, the eyewitness reports from individual Democratic lawmakers who’ve recently visited Iraq appear to have changed the dynamic in the debate over the war. The Kansas City Star’s “The Buzz,” for example, reports Democratic Rep. Brian Baird “saw enough progress on the ground that he will no longer vote for binding withdrawal timelines.” Rep. Jerry McNerney “suggested that his trip to Iraq made him more flexible in his search for a bipartisan accord on the war.” Also changing his tune is Rep. Tim Mahoney of Florida, who says the troop increase ‘has really made a difference and really has gotten al-Qaida on their heels.'”

Republican leaders and Administration officials are looking on with interest at the newly found Democratic support for the troop surge. A GOP congressional aide tells the Political Bulletin, “We think it is interesting to hear Democrats reluctantly admitting that the surge has been a tactical success. It’s fascinating considering the ride they’ve been on since January and that all Democrats in Congress voted to condemn the surge in one form or fashion.” Republicans are speculating that with the recent drop in blockbuster attacks and American troop deaths in Iraq, the Democrats are a bit concerned that pushing for an immediate withdrawal might appear defeatist.

I have no idea why the trapped themselves with defeatist rhetoric while continuing to give material support for the war. They declared the “surge” already failure between January and May, even though the operation only began in June. Now they realize how big a rhetorical error they made.

Now they want to flaunt their ignorance of Iraqi politics. Again, I don’t know why.

This is the danger of meddling with the irrational elements of the Trinity. If your politics are based more on emotion than reason, then you will be quickly overtaken by events.

In related news, Congressional approval ratings are still at their lowest rating ever.

The Gallup organization says in a news release that its latest poll “finds Congress’ approval rating the lowest it has been since Gallup first tracked public opinion of Congress with this measure in 1974. Just 18% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, while 76% disapprove, according to the August 13-16, 2007, Gallup Poll.” The Washington Times, meanwhile, reports President Bush’s “job-approval rating held steady at 32 percent in the poll of 1,019 adults conducted Monday through Thursday last week.”

Quick advice: The best way to become this unpopular is by acting like partisans idiots and not doing anything.