It's time now in our progressive think tank critical factor analysis of the neo-right to start drawing tentative conclusions.
The Global War on Terror
The war--or "wars," if you prefer--are not going well. Despite some success in establishing a constitutional government in Iraq, the insurgency shows no sign of abating. Senior officers still say we're making one or more new insurgents for everyone we capture or kill. The Army and Marine Corps continue to grind down under the strain of continued operations in Iraq; there is some question whether they can ever recover. The cost of the Iraq incursion continues to rise in terms of both US dollars and human casualties.
Afghanistan, once the crown jewel in our War on Terror, is now the world's leading narco-state. The Taliban have reestablished themselves in that country. The recent defeat of elite US Special Forces by Afghani rebels using inferior weapons but superior tactics dispelled the myth of US "tactical superiority."
A recent State Department study shows that the incidence of terrorist activity throughout the globe is on the rise. The London and Madrid bombings indicate that al Qaeda leadership is still directing--at a strategic level, at least--Islamic terror activity in the western world.
And oh, the tallest Arab ever wanted "dead or alive" by the United States government is still at large.
THIS JUST IN: Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari has called for "a speedy withdrawal of U.S. troops" from Iraq. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
According to an article by alter Pincus and Jim VandeHei in today's Washington Post , "The special prosecutor in the CIA leak probe has interviewed a wider range of administration officials than was previously known, part of an effort to determine whether anyone broke laws during a White House effort two years ago to discredit allegations that President Bush used faulty intelligence to justify the Iraq war."
Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is casting a wide net indeed. The trail of the bogus Niger uranium intelligence leads through the State Department, the Defense Department, the Justice Department, the FBI, the CIA, the Office of Special Plans, and the office of the Vice President of the United States. And all these offices contain cells of loyal Bush neoconservatives.
Up to now a critical strength of the Bush administration, the cabal of long time ideological cronies distributed throughout the executive department may turn into a critical vulnerability. The list of names attached to Traitorgate grows by the day: Cheney, Rumsfeld, Libby, Rove, Tenet, Ashcroft, Powell, Fleishman, Bolton, Rice, and many others. Given the tight knit relationships among all the players, it seems likely that if one goes down on criminal charges, they all will.
Center of Gravity
"Experts" disagree on just what a "center of gravity" is, but a consensus is growing that COGs are related to objectives. If we stick to the overall objective of taking back control of congress in 2006, we might consider the Republican's strategic COG to be the core of neoconservatives surrounding President Bush: Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, Rice, and a handful of others. To discredit them would be a decisive blow to the entire Republican Party.
One word: Traitorgate. If allegations and speculations about Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation prove true, the whole Niger uranium issue will prove the "Achilles tendon" that will bring down the GOP center of gravity.
Other aspects of the neoconservative regime that can be exploited: economy, civil liberties, catering to the religious, environmental issues, exposure of media manipulation, questionable ties to big business (Exxon, Halliburton, the general military/industrial complex, transportation, etc.), mishandling of the war.
We're also seeing--to some extent--the beginning of a split in the GOP as some congressional Republicans are beginning to distance themselves from the neoconservative core.
Regardless of what we discover regarding Traitorgate over the next few months, the core supporters of the Bush machine will doubtless remain loyal--especially those who react favorably to "brain dead nutjob" rhetoric. The Murcoch media empire and the rest of Big Brother Broadcasting will continue to echo chamber the neo-propaganda, and the core faithful will continue to consume and believe it.
The war, mishandled or not, may by its very existence may also turn out to be a Bush GOP strength. Many Americans, even those opposed to the Bush administration, may be queasy about making a major shift in the complexion of government while jihadist terrorism is still a visible and immediate threat to US security.
Well, progressive think tankers, that's my quick and dirty analysis of your "opposition." But there's work yet to be done. You can't just sit around and wait for the neocon-centric GOP to implode on itself. Something "big" will no doubt fall out from Fitzgerald's investigation, but we really have no idea how big that something will be.
And keep in mind the wisdom of an old adage: "be careful what you wish for." If it works out that the GOP collapses, will the Democratic Party be able to step in and take up the burden of restoring a failed government?
Tomorrow I'll begin my operational analysis of the "progressive Democrats."