Still Wrong - And Way Too Late
A couple of interesting items regarding Bush’s acceptance that we aren’t winning in Iraq, and what the media has seemingly missed:
He is admitting this now because it helps him sell more troops for Iraq and growing the military to fit his flawed and publicly rejected foreign policy. As usual, Bush is only listening to those whose views match his own. Bush is listening to guys like Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute, who are this war’s cheerleaders. Kagan says with a straight face that the public doesn’t really want out of Iraq despite the polls to the contrary, and he openly advocates deploying even larger numbers of the National Guard to Iraq to support his plan. Therefore it should come as no surprise that Bush will not only stay the course, but will in fact send more troops in.
Anyone who thought that Robert Gates was going to scale things down in the Middle East will be disappointed. Despite his statement that he hasn’t made up his mind yet, Gates will ramp things up and will benefit from moving generals like John Abizaid and George Casey into retirement, who oppose a ramp-up. And yet a likely increase in American troop levels comes at a time when the Iraqis seemingly are ready to move away from violence and militarism and towards a new moderate coalition government that might isolate the more radical elements and pursue real reconciliation, even perhaps discuss the three region solution once again. Would sending in another 20,000-40,000 occupying troops into Baghdad harm this effort?
When John Kerry called during the 2004 campaign for an increase of 40,000 in our force levels, and specifically a doubling of our Special Forces to fight the global terror war, the White House and GOP Senate hacks like incoming Minority Leader Mitch McConnell belittled Kerry.
In his most extensive remarks on the future of the American military, Sen. John F. Kerry said here Thursday that he would expand the active-duty Army by 40,000 soldiers, including a doubling of U.S. Special Forces; speed development of new technologies and equipment to meet threats posed by terrorist networks; and better integrate the National Guard into the nation's homeland security strategy.
"From Day One, this administration has been obsessed with threats from other states, instead of opening their eyes to the perils of the new century: terrorist organizations with or without ties to rogue nations and failed states, entities that can become their sanctuaries," Kerry said in a speech at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Museum and Library. "These are the enemies our military is facing, and this is where we must train, arm and equip our military to win."
Asserting that U.S. forces "are stretched too thin," Kerry said in his speech that the administration has mismanaged the war in Iraq and that those U.S. forces and their families are paying the price.
"The administration's answer has been to put a Band-Aid on the problem," he said. "They have effectively used a 'stop-loss' policy as a backdoor draft. They have extended tours of duty, delayed retirements and prevented enlisted personnel from leaving the service."
It has only taken two years and countless deaths and injuries to our troops for Bush to come around and admit that Kerry was right all along.
Yet in those two years, Bush has broken the military and run the Iraqi operation into the ground, while losing public support for fixing either. The time to add these troops and Special Forces to fight terrorists was several years ago, so that by now they would be in the world’s hot spots quietly killing the bad guys without the White House media events. But now with a Democratic Congress aboard, Bush gets to blame the opposition when they ask the tough questions next year, instead of admitting that he should have done this years ago with his own party in charge of Congress.