Meandering To The Inevitable
Bush just told the country that he needs more time for (meaningless) consultation before he makes any (already-made) decision (to escalate) in Iraq. (interpretation mine) The more I see of this guy lately, the more I am convinced that he's unfit to sort this out. As Matt Yglesias noted today, Bush is going with escalation and is searching for a mission to justify it simply because he has nothing left to offer. My two cents are that Bush is too emotionally damaged and immature to accept defeat and change course, so he scurries for a rationale to not only stay the course, but to dress up this pig as a new, improved policy that doesn't look like admitting defeat. I think he's even willing to overrule the advice of his new SecDef against an escalation because Cheney and the Kool-Aid drinkers at AEI and Brookings know how to play Bush like the broken violin he is.
“The key to success in Iraq is to have a government that’s willing to deal with the elements that are trying to prevent this young democracy from succeeding.”
What does an American escalation have to do with whether or not Iraqis have the political will to address their sectarian violence? Why would you push an escalation when our own troops already are against it and know what would likely result?
“We want to help them succeed,” he said, adding that “I fully understand that it’s important to have both Republicans and Democrats understanding the importance of this mission.
Mr. President, the problem isn’t that Democrats and Republicans don’t understand the importance of the mission, but rather your lack of credibility and total inability in selling it.
“It’s important for the American people to understand that success in Iraq is vital for our own security. If we were not to succeed in Iraq, the enemy — the extremists, the radicals — would have safe haven from which to launch further attacks. They would be emboldened. They would be in a position to threaten the United States of America.”
Mr. President, explain to me how any militia or the Sunni insurgency would ever show up in downtown Los Angeles to threaten the United States of America? And as for Al Qaeda in Iraq, you have the means to deal with them now in the Anbar province, but it is you who is not dealing with them, not the Iraqis. You still haven’t sealed the borders, nor are you working with the Sunni tribesmen to root out and eliminate Al Qaeda despite their repeated pleas for assistance and arms. Instead you want to escalate for a battle with homegrown forces who have no plans to come to America?
The only group in Iraq that can or wants to threaten the United States is Al Qaeda, yet your own commanders tell you that the sectarian violence is the Number One threat to the Iraqi government. So how will your policy shift deal with the real threat to the United States and the real threat facing the Iraqi government? Are you escalating to disarm the militias and eliminate Al Qaeda, and if so, will you lay out a clear plan to do both while being truthful with the American people on how long this will take, how much it will cost, and how you plan to pay for it?
I'm betting no.