Favorite

Guess who’s shifting on Iraq? 

Let’s play a little game, not that the subject matter is a bit of fun. It’s deadly serious, literally. Tragic, even.

I’ll give you a couple of sets of fresh quotations from a politician. Your assignment is to guess the identity of the politician. Here we go:

• “I’ll say this: I’m still not for laying out any timetable for withdrawing from Iraq — at least not publicly.” Then, when asked if that meant that the politician favored imposing a timetable for withdrawal that the United States would keep to itself so as not to embolden the enemy, the politician said, “That’s correct.”

• “We need to be clear in our communication with the Iraqi leadership. The American people did not make an open-ended commitment. We need to make clear to them, ‘We’re not going to hang around for your civil war.’ Defense Secretary Rumsfeld testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee the other day. You probably saw it. He got some very tough questions and didn’t answer very many. But I thought it was telling when Sen. Evan Bayh asked him whose side we would be on in a civil war in Iraq. He didn’t have an answer for that.”

Need a hint as to the identity of the speaker? The comments were made to me Thursday afternoon by cell phone from Monticello, the one in southeast Arkansas. That ought to remove Hillary Clinton as a suspect.

Need another? The caller was a noted moderate, a centrist Democrat heretofore generally patient with the Bush administration on Iraq and a few other things.

Need another? This is a male politician.

Oh, come on. Surely you have it by now.

That’s right — it’s U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor.

I told the senator that while actual position changes in those comments were expressed only in subtle and nuanced terms, they struck me as highly significant. He said something friendly about my ability to read subtlety and nuance.

Something big seems to be happening in America on the Iraq issue, and it’s bigger than what happened to Pryor’s buddy Joe Lieberman in Connecticut the other day. That was a combination of the Democratic Party’s national anti-war extremist base flexing muscle and of Lieber-man’s having overdone his bipartisanship to the point of appearing overly obliging, even smarmy.

What’s happening is represented vividly by the ever-temperate Pryor’s fresh comments, suggesting as they do that America doesn’t possess clearly achievable objectives in Iraq and that, whatever those objectives are, we should abandon them forthwith if civil war breaks out, or per-haps we should say escalates.

That would seem especially true if this civil war pits Iranian sympathizers against Saddam sympathizers, which seems to be the case. There’s not a lesser evil apparent in that particular pairing.

Meantime, we remain confronted by a clear and evil enemy. I refer to the creeps who nearly blew up more passenger airplanes just the other day and who now have us flying without carry-on toothpaste.

It may turn out that we’ll leave the Iraqis to fight among themselves. It may be that we’ll use such a departure — tragic though it be in terms of lost American and Iraqi lives — to turn our undivided attention and might toward our real problem.

Mark Pryor is clearing his throat in preparation to say that, if I read subtlety and nuance correctly.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by John Brummett

  • Obstruction is the preferred conservatism

    Is there greater conservative virtue in opposing federal health reform, period, or in saying it ought to be implemented locally instead of from Washington in the event we are unavoidably laden with it?
    • Oct 5, 2011
  • A fate not quite as bad as prison for Lu Hardin

    There is no crime in being overly and transparently solicitous for the purposes of aggrandizement and personal political advancement. That's simply acute neediness, a common and benign human frailty.
    • Sep 28, 2011
  • Can we talk? Can we get anywhere?

    Dialogue is good. It would be even better if someone would venture off script every once in a while.
    • Sep 21, 2011
  • More »

More by Max Brantley

Most Shared

  • 'Cemetery angel' Ruth Coker Burks featured in new short film

    Ruth Coker Burks, the AIDS caregiver and activist memorably profiled by David Koon as the cemetery angel in Arkansas Times in 2015, is now the subject of a short film made by actress Rose McGowan.
  • Buyer remorse

    Out here in flyover country, you can't hardly go by the feed store without running into a reporter doing one of those Wisdom of the Heartland stories.
  • Not Whitewater

    Just think: If Democrats had turned out 78,000 more votes in three states in November, people could be reveling today in the prospect of impeaching and convicting President Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, as some Republican lawmakers had promised to try to do if she won.
  • Head-shaking

    Another edition of so-much-bad-news-so-little space.

Latest in John Brummett

  • Gone to the DoG

    We're now longer carrying John Brummett's column in this space.
    • Oct 12, 2011
  • Obstruction is the preferred conservatism

    Is there greater conservative virtue in opposing federal health reform, period, or in saying it ought to be implemented locally instead of from Washington in the event we are unavoidably laden with it?
    • Oct 5, 2011
  • A fate not quite as bad as prison for Lu Hardin

    There is no crime in being overly and transparently solicitous for the purposes of aggrandizement and personal political advancement. That's simply acute neediness, a common and benign human frailty.
    • Sep 28, 2011
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Buyer remorse

    • It's just that always when somebody criticizes trump, you bring up Hillary. Why? Why am…

    • on July 28, 2017
  • Re: Buyer remorse

    • Oh, my - I don't hate Hillary Clinton - I feel she is damaged goods…

    • on July 28, 2017
  • Re: Buyer remorse

    • IBS, you're from Chicago, right? Hillary's from Chicago. Your monomania against Hillary is puzzling and…

    • on July 27, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation