The Cost of the Surge and Oxycontin logic

The Escalation or Surge was a great success. To suggest otherwise means you’re just a cynical unamerican lefty defeatacrat hoping for the worse. Exactly what was the escalation of troop levels supposed to accomplish. Bush said that was to get violence under control and then reduce troop levels. The causality count is down, but most of the troops that were used for the escalation are still there. Before the escalation there were 130,000 troops. Now there are 150,000. Has the situation on the ground in Iraq actually changed or has the Bush administration really made the situation a case of never ending surge in order to retain a lower, yet still steady rate of violence which by comparison to a year ago makes it appear as though progress has been made, i.e. Iraq is forever on the verge of being a stable rather then failed state. No ‘Straight Talk’ on Iraq Cost

…according to a new book by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and author Linda J. Bilmes. In “The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict,” they warn that the war’s “true budgetary cost,” excluding interest, “is likely to reach $2.7 trillion.” Aside from the price of munitions, contractors, transport, fuel and other fixed costs, their calculations are based on the government’s continuing obligation to provide medical care and disability payments for the thousands of wounded Iraqi and Afghanistani veterans over the coming decades.

[ ]…Even in the “best-case” scenario envisioned by Stiglitz and Bilmes, with our troop presence declining rapidly, the U.S. commitment in Iraq is still likely to cost no less than $400 billion over the next several years, on top of the $800 billion or so that we have spent to date. Those figures, which don’t include veterans’ benefits, add up to $1.2 trillion. What the authors call their “realistic-moderate scenario” for a prolonged presence in Iraq will cost twice as much or more.

It is difficult for even the experts to pin down an exact number of members of al-Qaeda, estimates range from a few hundred to a few thousand actual members. Yet we’re in Iraq, a country that did not sponsor or have an al-Qaeda presence until Bush kicked out weapons inspectors. We’re not spending over a trillon dollars on stopping the organization responsible for 9-11, but to rescue a failed state that Bush and his supporters created as Afghanistan continues to fall further into chaos.

This is what Rush Limbaugh said about John McCain and Mike Huckabee just a month ago,

I understand what you’re saying. I hate to tell you this, but she’s not alone. I’m here to tell you, if either of these two guys get the nomination, it’s going to destroy the Republican Party, it’s going to change it forever, be the end of it. A lot of people aren’t going to vote. You watch. (emphasis mine)

Now we have Limbaugh and every other Rightie manufacturing some indignation over the NYT lobbyist story,

Limbaugh wrote in an e-mail to Politico: “The story is not the story. The story is the Drive By media turning on its favorite maverick and trying to take him out. The media picked the GOP’s candidate, the NYT endorsed him while they sat on this story, and is now, with utter predictability, trying to destroy him.”

Limbaugh’s real problem with McCain was that the Senator didn’t kneel down and kiss the ring of the Pope of hate radio. If only McCain would have genuflected harder for right-wing shock jocks they would have taken him under their big manly wings and protected him from the press. Limbaugh’s oxycontin hazed logic makes sense until you realize that the NYT held off on the story when it might have hurt McCain in the caucuses with cultural Conservatives and helped Rush’s boy Romney.

Greg Mueller, a veteran Republican strategist, said conservatives would side with McCain against the paper they love to hate.

“The New York Times is trying to Swift Boat McCain,” Mueller said. “This is the first real salvo of the general election. Certainly, the Times cannot complain about a negative general election campaign since they fired the first shot.

One can’t help but ask where Mueller and Limbaugh were in their new found championship of fairness when Bush and Rove were spreading rumors about McCain in 2000. The NYT does an article that reports the facts that are out there and that is considered by the Right to be a under handed liberal attack, yet when Republicans pull the worse kind of political dirty tricks on their own its just politics. Take your pick, manufactured outrage, moral relativity  or just good old hypocrisy. Its all just Republicans caught being the perennial whiners they’re been for years. The NYT did Conservatives a favor and they know it. Now the Limbaughs and Muellers can save face and circle their wagons and limousines around McCain claiming that he wasn’t such a bad guy after all. Which most of us knew they were going to do eventually anyway. McCain is already sending out e-mails soliciting funds based on this dastardly attack by the “liberal” press.

But the G.O.P. elites aren’t mad that McCain did any of those things. They’re upset that the media is covering it. In fact, the rage is so intense that many of McCain’s harshest Republican critics are rallying around the ethically challenged Senator. The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder cites reactions from arch-conservatives like The American Spectator, The National Review and Commentary, and explains:

    The Times story may have succeeded in accomplishing what politics itself could not: unifying the conservative base around McCain by way of their visceral disgust with the New York Times and its lib-ber-ral politics.

Like most liberals I could care less about McCain’s personal life. The important part of the story is his holier then thou pronouncements about being uninfluenced by lobbyists and big money when the truth is that he is beholden to special interests