You are currently viewing archive for January 2007
I appeared on KWTX (local TV) three times in less than twenty-four hours this week. I talked a lot, but I did not say anything worth repeating here.

However, here is what I am hearing around town:

At the Wal-Mart this morning around 6AM:

One employee to the other: "How come you are not wearing your [support the troops] badge?"

"I don't support the war."

"I know but you support the troops, right?"

"I don't support the killing."

"I know. It is just like Vietnam. But you should wear your badge."

"I don't support all that killing."
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
This reader comment attached to the previous post comes from one of our most thoughtful cyber neighbors and merits a spotlight.

Evrviglnt wrote:

"8. To do nothing different is to fail. To send more troops with a plan to hold ground and effect some semblance of peace is an attempt to show Iraqis that it can be done, life need not be simply one bombing after another. We need momentum in the right direction; there are few options now, including surrender. This is the right choice by the commander in chief.

"That is not to say I am not terribly disappointed in my president, I am. For years now I have defended his decision to invade Iraq because I understood his long term plans, recognized the advantage of having a foreign battlefield with which to engage fanaticism, and I agreed with his optimism that freedom is a natural yearning of the oppressed. I am less idealistic now, and find myself on that cusp where one side demands total and overwhelming military domination, the other - bringing our soldiers home. I am not a violent man, but if we will not change the rules of engagement so our soldiers can do their jobs with withering ferocity and efficiency, then bring them home..."
Quick Thoughts:

1. The President admitted errors in judgment--but he remains unrepentant. He is staying the course, with adjustments.

2. The President did not change one mind in America last night.

3. The President is isolated. Congress cannot stop him, but they can make his life difficult via resolutions and hearings. The Democratic leadership strategy now is to foment debate and discontent in hopes of bending the will of the President.

4. As Democratic Party strategists admit, there is no political advantage to be gained through investing in this policy.

5. The "bi-partisan working group" to which the President referred consists of Joe Lieberman, a Senator from Connecticut and a former Democratic Vice Presidential nominee--just to name a few.

6. The Democrats have no alternative other than "redeployment" and striking a deal with Iran and Syria.

7. This "new plan" is a long shot. In fact, it is mostly a way to buy time. But what are the other options?

Transcript and video here.
For three years of war, the Bush administration deluded itself into thinking that they sat atop a generational political realignment. Karl Rove et al saw George Bush as a McKinley-like figure who had inaugurated a decades-long Republican dynasty.

What is wrong with dynasty? Dynasty lacks accountability.

No pressure in Iraq guys, we have a compliant Congress. Don't bother selling this to the American people, they understand GOP means patriotism, peace through strength, and a no-nonsense view of the world; we speak the same language; the electorate is in the bag.

Now George Bush is operating within a new model. The administration understands all too well today that the American people are fed up with where we are in Iraq, and we want to quit. This past election saw crushing defeats for the President and his policy, and the next election, if we are in the same position in Iraq, will be much worse.

An aside: At least one of two things is true: the President and his brain trust badly misjudged the obstacles in the Middle East, and/or the President failed miserably in articulating what was ahead of us and preparing us as a nation for the long siege against Islamism, history and fifty years of American foreign policy in the region that works against us.

What can Bush do? He can give up. He can pack up the troops and bring them home. He can say he made a huge mistake. He can ask forgiveness and reach across the aisle for help in shutting down military operations. He can say his heart was in the right place, but events overwhelmed him. We wish the people of Iraq the best, and we hope that the Middle East finds the right path on the long highway of life--but we are done.

Or he can say damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. I am certain that the President is going to give this project one more shot. The President must understand, finally, that he has used up all his “political capital.” For a very brief period, he can stand against an electoral mandate and a hostile Congress--but not for long. He must make decisive progress, and it must come quickly.

With the clock winding down, President Bush is putting the ball in the hands of Lt. Gen David H. Petraeus. Is victory still possible? Stranger things have happened. Generals Grant and Sherman turned the tide for President Lincoln during desperate times. Has President Bush found himself a fighting general? Perhaps more importantly, is George Bush ready to be a fighting president?

Here is a New York Post column from Ralph Peters, who argues that Petraeus is capable but possibly not belligerent enough.

A profile of Petraeus from the Washington Post here.