Bush Playing The Clock (With Bob Kerrey’s Approval)

When the first plans in Iraq failed, Bush responded with the first surge, which many considered to be simply staying the course. Most military experts didn’t believe it would work, but it helped stall for time. Bush’s strategy appears to be to run out the clock and leave it to the next President to figure out what to do. With any luck, the next President will even get the blame for the mess that is left behind.

The first surge appears to be failing to work, but Bush still plans to stay the course, and is reportedly planning yet another surge:

The Bush administration is quietly on track to nearly double the number of combat troops in Iraq this year, an analysis of Pentagon deployment orders showed Monday.

The little-noticed second surge, designed to reinforce U.S. troops in Iraq, is being executed by sending more combat brigades and extending tours of duty for troops already there.

The actions could boost the number of combat soldiers from 52,500 in early January to as many as 98,000 by the end of this year if the Pentagon overlaps arriving and departing combat brigades.

Meanwhile, Bob Kerrey has created a lot of talk in the blogosphere following his op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in support of remaining in Iraq. Responses include those at The Carpetbagger Report, Liberty Street, Think Progress, and Taylor Marsh. Most of Kerrey’s op-ed is a rehash of pro-war arguments which have been discussed repeatedly in the past. There’s one slightly new twist:

Those who argue that radical Islamic terrorism has arrived in Iraq because of the U.S.-led invasion are right. But they are right because radical Islam opposes democracy in Iraq. If our purpose had been to substitute a dictator who was more cooperative and supportive of the West, these groups wouldn’t have lasted a week.

The problem is not that they oppose democracy (even if they do) but that the incompetently managed invasion left the country in chaos. Radical groups would have taken advantage of the situation regardless if we planned to set up another dictatorship or a democracy given this opportunity. If the goal really was to promote democracy, this was the wrong way to do it. People working for democracy in non-democratic societies have complained since the war that many people look at Iraq and no longer see democracy as anything desirable.

One problem is that there is a grain of truth to the arguments regarding predictions of problems if we leave Iraq. However, supporters of remaining have provided no evidence that remaining longer will do any good. We will have problems if we leave this year. We will have problems if we leave Iraq in two years, five years, or twenty years. The difference will be that there will be more lives lost, more money wasted, and more hatred of America the longer we stay.

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  1. 1
    citizen says:

    there is no evidence if we stay it will do any good. but there is plenty of evidence saying if we leave it will blow up.hmmmm what should we do.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    There’s plenty of evidence of harm from continuing the present course so we need to do things differently.

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