Monday :: Jun 18, 2007

Petraeus Pleads For An Endless Occupation

by Steve

General Petraeus did his job over the weekend to reveal the Bush Administration Plan B. Petraeus said yesterday that he wouldn’t know anything in September except that it is too early to withdraw troops or change the mission. Petraeus said that it would be another 1-2 years before the United States can consider any major changes in direction in Iraq, because meddling by Iraq’s neighbors Syria and Iran makes a drawdown impossible. Given that the Bush Administration rejected the ISG report recommendation of talking with Iran and Syria as far back as last December, and only recently did anything along these lines, it is more than a little hypocritical for Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker to use this as an excuse to stay another 1-2 years. And having made fools of themselves with their Korea analogy, the administration now tries to tell us that Iraq is like Northern Ireland. Please stop trying to dress up an occupation as something other than it is.

The big question remains whether or not the Republicans in Congress will allow the White House to roll out another plan or surge in September. Mitch McConnell repeated his warning yesterday that there will be a policy change in September regardless of what Petraeus says, but he could just as easily be pointing to another surge cloaked in a mission change. For their part, House Democrat Ellen Tauscher of California and Senator Barbara Boxer will both be pushing approaches of their own: Tauscher has signed onto an effort to rescind the 2002 AUMF with Nancy Pelosi’s full support; and Boxer has signed onto Joe Biden’s partitioning proposal.

But before the Democrats take another crack at a change in policy, they need to improve their messaging. As Jonathan Alter at Newsweek notes, the GOP has successfully branded “redeployment” as surrender, without being held accountable for a failed war against Al Qaeda. Democrats need to convince voters that their priority is not policing a civil war amongst Sunnis and Shiites, but rather a refocused effort to get the guys Bush has failed to find and kill. “Pull and Strike” allows the Democrats to highlight GOP weaknesses and sell the public on a Democratic commitment to go after Al Qaeda and rid the country of the menace that Bush let into Iraq.

Steve :: 8:09 AM :: Comments (11) :: Digg It!