Dishonor roll 

The agnostics here at News Hits can't say for sure if the roll's ever really going to be called up yonder as the old hymn promises. But we're sure hoping there'll be electoral hell to pay down here for all the hawks in Congress who delivered a "nay" when the roll was called for the war funding bill that attempted to set a timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq.

The vote broke down along largely party lines, with three southeast Michigan Republicans falling lockstep in line behind George "Commander Guy" Bush, allowing him to veto the measure without fear of it being overridden. Among those taking a place on the dishonor roll were U.S. Reps. Joe Knollenberg (Bloomfield Hills), Thaddeus McCotter (Livonia) and Candice Miller (Harrison Township).

As Knollenberg's Web site shows, even the president's staunchest supporters can no longer ignore the obvious: "There is no disputing that mistakes have been made in the execution of the Iraq war." Of course, Joe wants "our soldiers to return home as soon as possible." But, and this is a big, big but, he "wants them to come home in victory, not defeat."

We, somehow, mistakenly thought victory had already been achieved four years ago when the prez stood on the deck of an aircraft carrier and proclaimed an end to "major combat operations in Iraq" as a banner declaring "Mission Accomplished" flapped in the breeze behind him.

So what, in the view of our fearless decider in chief, defines victory in Iraq these days? Well, for starters, you can forget about the "free and democratic Iraq" being promised not all that long ago. His new vision of success, offered recently in a speech to construction contractors, is pared back considerably:

"Either we'll succeed, or we won't succeed. And the definition of success, as I described, is sectarian violence down. Success is not no violence. There are parts of our own country that have got a certain level of violence to it. But success is a level of violence where the people feel comfortable about living their daily lives. And that's what we're trying to achieve."

The moral of all this: If at first you don't succeed, just keep changing your definition of success.

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact the column at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]

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