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Doug Giebel: Blood Will Have Blood

Blood Will Have Blood:
To Leave Or Not To Leave Iraq

By Doug Giebel

I am in blood
Stepped in so far that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o'er.
- Macbeth: 3.4.136

The black shroud of tedium is draped over the Bush Administration as it timidly considers whether to leave (and how to leave) Iraq. Tired of trying to justify its profound failure to achieve success at nation building, worried that history will regard the neo-conservative-led misadventure as a bloody blot on the "legacy" of George W. Bush and his presidency, some Republicans who previously supported this ill-advised "war" are beginning to question whether the game is worth the price of admission.

The first serious test of how withdrawal will play on the public stage comes from Republican Rep. Howard Coble of Greensboro, N.C. who has openly called for serious consideration of pulling U.S. troops from Iraq. Coble's statement did not originate in The New York Times or Washington Post, but in an interview with his hometown Greensboro News-Record (1/9/05), where the 10-time congressman complained that the Bush Administration has never had a post-invasion strategy.

Those who have known since before the invasion-of-choice took place that the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal had no adequate strategy should welcome late-comer Coble to the club. How much more blood and treasure must be spilled to saturate Iraqi soil before others who are A.W.O.L. on this issue in both political parties join their North Carolina colleague.

In the News-Record interview with reporter Stan Swofford, Coble said that he and his constituents "believe we were right to go there, and [we] strongly support our troops, but [we] are getting increasingly tired of our young men and women getting killed every day." Coble continued, "We got rid of Saddam the snake. Now it's time to let the Iraqis take care of the snake pit."

Conventional wisdom has it that President Bush does not waste his valuable time reading the newspapers. Even if he did, it's doubtful he could permit himself to agree with Coble, who stated he is "fed up with picking up the newspaper and reading that we've lost another five or 10 of our young men and women in Iraq." (Not that all of our troops over there are young. The Pentagon scours the barrel of its "volunteers" and sends men and women in their 40s, 50s and 60s to the battlefront.) The president and his action-figure cronies do not really fear terrorists "taking over" the United States. Their "horrible imaginings" are of their otherwise-spotless records being cursed both loud and deep for having "lost" their beloved war.

No records are being kept for the gallons of human blood shed in the Iraqi enterprise, but the amount must be considerable -- enough to fill the White House residence bathtub many times over. To make certain the bleeding never stops, Newsweek now reports the Rumsfeld Mafia is considering implementation of "death squads" to carry out assassinations "against the use of nature."

With fortune, skill and luck on his side, George W. Bush has so far led a "charmed life," but the clock has begun to tick against him as the Iraq debacle further deteriorates and as his lame-duck presidential status helps at least a few Republicans in congress "screw [their] courage to the sticking place" and take stands against the war on Iraq and the war on Social Security.

Sadly, recent history has shown the nation can little depend on Democrats to challenge the Bush machine with boldness and resolve. Over the one-half of their trembling world, "nature seems dead" indeed. Perhaps they're waiting, serpent-like, for the Bushvolk to misstep so egregiously that even the most somnolent Americans will finally see the light.

The bleeding continues apace, and the nation barely notices when new casualties are reported from Iraq. If the recent tsunami had a beneficial effect, it was to distract Americans from the floundering Iraqi occupation, delivering with its blow some breathing room for the Bush Administration. To hope, however, that "a little water clears us of this deed" seems as doubtful as it does in Shakespeare's blood-drenched tragedy.


Doug Giebel is a writer and analyst who lives in Big Sandy, Montana. He welcomes comments at

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