President Bush announced his long-anticipated American troop surge for Iraq on Wednesday evening. Honestly, I’m not sure the purpose of announcements anymore, as in many cases such as this, the facts have already been in the public sector – right down to specific troop numbers – for some time.
It’s an understatement to say Bush’s escalation plan was seriously flawed.
As some officials have stated, the Iraqis will never take over their own responsibilities if we keep doing them for them. Sending more troops in makes as much sense as saying you want to develop renewable, clean sources of energy, even as you push the expansion of oil drilling in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. It’s like pledging to quit smoking, even as you’re looking for new places to buy cigarettes.
Your doctors would certainly tell you to quit smoking; when it comes to your health, they are the experts. But if you don’t like what they’re telling you, you can always get new doctors. Or generals, as the case may be. Even though you said you would let them determine the best course to take. But you may have said that on the condition that their vision matched yours.
In other words, Bush was for his military commanders' recommendations before he was against them.
In the run-up to the 2008 election, Republicants will almost certainly use Democrats’ objections to Bush’s troop surge as yet another example of how the left is “weak on defense.” They’ll leave out the fact that many of their own ranks have also publicly stated the same position. They’ll leave out the more significant fact that military experts have said it would not be a good idea, but were summarily dismissed.
Bush was not specific about what the increase means for our future in Iraq. He mentioned November (presumably 2007?) as a target for Iraqis to assume control of their own security. He failed to finish the thought there – and it was what most Americans wanted to hear – with regard to what that timeframe means in terms of American troop withdrawal. For now, it looks like we can expect more of the same: uncertainty and loss.
I sure hope all this “smoking” doesn’t give our country terminal cancer.