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Reaction to Bush’s New Iraq Strategy

January 11, 2007

I happened to be home early tonight, so I was actually able to watch the speech live- although with my children excitedly trying to get my attention as Daddy home for dinner has been a rare treat in recent months.

Tonight I go to bed somewhat relieved that the era of “compassionate war making” may be over.

The biggest thing that I was concerned about was the loosening of the rules of engagement. We will go after any armed militias, including those of Sadr. About freakin’ time. It is also a comprehensive approach- involving not only the military but political, diplomatic and economic tools. The oil trust idea, if that what it is, seems like a great idea, even though Hillary Clinton has been advocating it since 2003. I liked that he accepted responsibility for all failures. I also liked the domestic piece:

In the days ahead, my national security team will fully brief Congress on our new strategy. If Members have improvements that can be made, we will make them. If circumstances change, we will adjust. Honorable people have different views, and they will voice their criticisms. It is fair to hold our views up to scrutiny. And all involved have a responsibility to explain how the path they propose would be more likely to succeed.

Acting on the good advice of Senator Joe Lieberman and other key members of Congress, we will form a new, bipartisan working group that will help us come together across party lines to win the war on terror. This group will meet regularly with me and my Administration, and it will help strengthen our relationship with Congress. We can begin by working together to increase the size of the active Army and Marine Corps, so that America has the Armed Forces we need for the 21st century. We also need to examine ways to mobilize talented American civilians to deploy overseas – where they can help build democratic institutions in communities and nations recovering from war and tyranny.

We desperately need a better way to discuss our involvement in Iraq that goes beyond “It was a mistake!” No it isn’t!”. I’m hoping this is a step in that direction, regardless of what any Democrats say in response tonight to the speech. There has been much too much energy wasted in debating simply weather we should be there or not. I would like to see more of a discussion about tactics that get us closer to winning. That may be too much to hope for though: victory is too contentious a word.

The one thing that has worried me is that the Democrats will defund this last effort. Some will try, but I have to think that their effort will fail. The stakes are simply too high, the costs of failure too great to our National Security for me to believe that those in a position of power would cause it.

Also important is that the Iraqi’s have been served notice that we can’t stay there too much longer. They have to step up to the plate, make some tough choices, or risk our abandonment.

There should be much more bi-partisan support for this new strategy (actually “new new operations and tactical approaches designed to achieve the original strategic goals”). Not long ago many Democrats were calling for more troops. There’s a great roundup of quotes at The Anchoress, including Nancy Pelosi in May of last year, and Silvestre Reyes of the House Intelligence committee in December. The flip-flopping of their position is sadly predictable as it is destructively partisan. Ultimately, after blue meat is thrown to their anti-war crowd, I think enough support will be given (or not enough opposition) for Bush’s plan to go through.

The President’s advisers and generals told him for a long time that more troops weren’t needed. The American people clearly want change. Many Democrats and war critics have called for more troops. Others have called for more aggressive tactics against the Shiite militias. The President I think has listened quite well, revitalized and changed his approach, and this is the result. I hope that he gets the support he’s looking for.

Then again, it could all be the prelude to a retreat (see my previous post). We’ll know in a few months. BTW, the Belmont Club predicted this strategy pretty much dead on 10 days ago. It’s not the first time.

Democrat friends, can you get aboard for this last leg of the journey? How about praying for a miracle? Maybe that can be your part of the sacrifice. Show the Count some love now!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Rob A. permalink
    January 11, 2007 11:30 am

    Dude, you can’t even get your own Republicans to board this bus. And 51% of those who watched the speech, which was disproportionately pro-Bush, opposed the move. When will you stop dismissing your own people as traitors?

  2. The Count permalink
    January 11, 2007 4:20 pm

    Dissmissing as traitors? What language prompts that accusation? This is a course of action about which reasonable people may disagree. Until Bush suggested it, many Dems were for increasing troop levels (including a bunch of retired Generals rounded up to criticize Bush’s execution of the War).

    Rob I have tried to reason with you, to explain my point of view. You often have responded with vicious and unwarranted attacks on my character and misrepresented my point of view in a cartoonish fashion. Take a chill pill please.

  3. TIm C permalink
    January 11, 2007 9:48 pm

    Hey Grec:

    Been pretty crazy here with things and am catching up on exactly what the Pres called for before I opine a bit…

    But as I look at it, I’ll be asking myself the question, “How is this not just a ‘Save Tinkerbell’ strategy of ‘Just Clap harder?'” How is this a substantially different tactic than we did before and failed? …How would you answer that question?

    Also, one note: You suggest that Speaker Pelosi’s quote was from “May of last year” — I looked at the MSNBC site and I’m pretty sure it was from May 2004… a date upon which I’ve seen broad consensus now that more troops would have almost certainly been worth doing…

    More later…


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