Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bushwacked

The headline reads: Bush Maps Out Iraq War Strategy.

Then, within the article itself, we are told that Bush "did not outline a new strategy for the nearly three-year-old war."

So, do we have a strategy or don't we? All I know for sure is that the president wants us to "stay the course."

This, of course, is the mantra that Bush has been using for ages now. Like unto it is the near-boilerplate that I think news headlines have been using every other day or so: "Bush refuses to set a timetable for Iraq withdrawal." (Here are three different news reports, each from a different date, and from unrelated sources, to make my point.)

But I wonder who's doing the scriptwriting for this bit Bush used today:

Some critics continue to assert that we have no plan in Iraq except to, quote, "Stay the course."

If by "Stay the course," they mean, "We will not allow the terrorists to break our will," they're right.

If by "Stay the course," they mean, "We will not permit Al Qaida to turn Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban, a safe haven for terrorism and a launching pad for attacks on America," they're right, as well.

If by "Stay the course," they mean that we're not learning from our experiences or adjusting our tactics to meet the challenges on the ground, then they're flat wrong.

The critics say he has no strategy other than "staying the course," and he says "they're right"? (Provided, of course, the term is defined as Bush wants it, a definition pretty much no one is using.) How does that win the argument? Let's grant Bush the definitions he wants. Simply having unbroken wills and a desire to prevent Al Qaida from turning Iraq into a "safe haven for terrorism" will not win this "war on terrorism." We need real strategies. Not more rhetoric.

To paraphrase John Kerry, we will not meet our goals in Iraq at the end of a gun barrel. We need something more. A real strategy. And Bush singularly failed to give us that today.

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