Contributors to the NRO symposium were generally positive, while VDH argues that numbers will matter only if theyre used aggressively and intelligently and Andrew C. McCarthy worries that the words about Iran and Syria were mere words, continuing a retreat from the post-9/11 Bush Doctrine regarding states that support terror.
The Democrats "bold plan" (yes, the article uses these words) and "striking new approach" (again, in the article) is this: "Twenty-one thousand five hundred troops ought to have 21,500 strings attached to them." Supporting the troops means supporting the troops that are there: if they cant win it on their own, Democrats arent going to provide further assistance.
This WaTi article reports a number of Congressional responses, some predictable, others disappointing. Im most disappointed in Sam Brownbacks short-sightedness. But you probably knew or expected most of this:
Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat, called the troop increase "a mistake that I and others will actively oppose in the days to come."
"Escalation has already been tried and it has already failed, because no amount of American forces can solve the political differences that lie at the heart of somebody elses civil war," he said.
Former Sen. John Edwards, North Carolina Democrat, wants an immediate withdrawal, while Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, has said she opposes a surge but has kept a low profile this week on Capitol Hill.
Among Republican 2008 hopefuls, Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, is one of the strongest supporters of sending more troops.
Mr. McCain has said such an increase must be "substantial and sustained" to make any difference in Iraq. He said last week that, at a minimum, five brigades of 3,500 to 5,000 soldiers should be sent to Baghdad, and two more brigades should be sent to the troublesome Anbar province.
The NYT didnt (try to) find many Congressional supporters of the Presidents plan, though McCain and Lieberman are solid gold.
Not surprisingly, the WSJ supports the Presidents proposal, arguing that "political compromise wont happen without better security, or as the Petraeus Counterinsurgency Manual puts it, security is essential to setting the stage for overall progress." Another WSJ editorial takes the Democrats to task for the feckless irresponsibility of their opposition:
So the Democrats want the political mileage of opposing the troop increase rhetorically. What they dont want is to take responsibility for their own policy choice. Meanwhile, their rhetoric will only serve to reassure the jihadis that sooner or later Democrats will force a U.S. withdrawal. Its enough to give a half-cheer to genuine Democratic isolationists, who have proposed legislation that would require the President to seek approval to fund additional troop increases. At least theyre willing to go on record.
I cant take any more of this.