I'm not sure it's over yet, but America has spent the last two days listening to the much balleyhooed reports from the field by Ambassador Ryan Crocker and the near messianic General David Petraeus, a couple of men Maureen Dowd calls "the Surge Twins."
The verdict is in, but then, in some ways, it was in before the first microphone malfunction. Everyone knew they'd say the surge has put some sort of lid on civil war, been a bad deal for Al Quida, and generally created some space for everyone to breath. In other words, it's been a good deal and we ought to keep on, keeping on.
On the other hand, no one has been surprised by the Surge Twins admitting, sometimes almost embarrassingly, that the government in place in Iraq isn't doing diddly, that it's dysfunctional in fact. And what most everyone knows is that things won't change in Iraq until there is a government in place which can insure the public mean.
So, on we go. If you liked the war before the Patraeus report, thought it absolutely essential to our future as a nation, believed everything Bush has said since the WMDs, then you're happy we're staying the course. If, like the majority of Americans who, in the 2006 Congressional election, voted to throw the bums out, you're even more disheartened.
The magic number is 67, and it doesn't look at all favorable for the Democrats to pick up enough dissenting Republicans to overturn a Presidential veto on any war change. It's not going to happen. Yet.
So the beat goes on--over there and over here.
We're gridlocked. We're split right down the middle, although it seems difficult to argue that a majority of Americans don't want us out. The man who came in with a minority, still has that minority--but it's enough to keep him on top.
Bush thinks of the Truman Presidency as his path in the woods: hated while he was in, revered since he's been out.
Maybe. Maybe not.
We're split down the middle, following one of two lines of thought that are as different as day and night.
General Petraeus says he doesn't really know whether or not all of this Iraq-war business is making life safer for Americans. The messiah hasn't been asked to think that far, even though the President assures us that it's Petraeus who is making the decisions over there, the man with his boots on the ground--and not the President himself.
For a moment, under the intense questioning of Sen. John Warner, the emperor, in his military fatigues, looked stark naked.
And, for all the world, we look split like some overripe melon.
This September 11 was another sad day.