Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Reactions to the speech

Contributors to the NRO symposium were generally positive, while VDH argues that numbers will matter only if they’re 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 can’t win it on their own, Democrats aren’t going to provide further assistance.

This WaTi article reports a number of Congressional responses, some predictable, others disappointing. I’m most disappointed in Sam Brownback’s 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 else’s 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 didn’t (try to) find many Congressional supporters of the President’s plan, though McCain and Lieberman are solid gold.

Not surprisingly, the WSJ supports the President’s proposal, arguing that "political compromise won’t 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 don’t 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. It’s 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 they’re willing to go on record.

I can’t take any more of this.

Discussions - 15 Comments

How many days has the Democratic party been in power? They are getting their ducks in order and will respond according to the wishes of the majority who put them in power.

It’s an odd thing to call them feckless. When Bush hasn’t been able to get a handle on a two bit country in all these years, balance a budget, or even capture the man responsible for 9/11. Why he isn’t even looking for him anymore.

I have to ask...."¿Qué es más feckless?"

I mean... Bush only announced his "big plan" yesterday and you’re all over the Dems because they only have only proposed a few alternatives and responses so far?

Do you think you’re being a tad biased?

Re "a few alternatives and responses" from the Dems: they do not have any. They are the worst form of do-nothings. Giving the Dems the lead will eventually lead to the deaths of millions, especially the Kurds.

It is coming down to "Peace at any cost" or "Freedom at any cost."

"I can’t take any more of this."

It’s a common sentiment these days, Joseph.

Sorry, but I didn’t hear anything that gave me a sense of optimism that 20,000 more men will be sufficient to turn things around. I understand that the Democrats are using this for political gain (honestly, can you blame them?), but I’ve lost faith in this entire venture. Yes, losing Iraq will be bad, but it needn’t be a disaster, particularly if efforts are focused anew at the fight that we absolutely must not lose--in Afghanistan.

Recall that even Churchill saw the sense in withdrawing from Norway, and France, and Greece. One battle does not a war make.


At last, we agree! Does this mean you’ve become fully committed to supporting whatever it takes to achieve a successful outcome in Iraq?

I think I agree with my old friend John Moser on this one. Everyone would like to win. Small tactical changes like those announced last night won’t work. It’s not clear what will.

It also sounds as if Bush is opening the door to attacks on Iran and Syria. If that fits under your definition of "what it takes to achieve a successful outcome" in Iraq, then my answer is an unequivocal "no." I will not support this administration’s drawing us into a wider war of choice against even more countries.

We already won the initial campaign. Let’s focus on that again.

The Dems have no plans? I thought I heard Kennedy saying just yesterday...

Seventy percent of Americans oppose sending more troops to Iraq, according to a new poll that provides a devastatingly blunt response to President Bush’s plan to bolster military forces there.

All sides in the Iraq debate are keenly aware of mounting public dissatisfaction with the situation: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday it’s one thing on which all Americans - including administration officials - are united.

Yet the Associated Press-Ipsos poll found widespread disagreement with the Bush administration over its proposed solution, and growing skepticism that the United States made the right decision in going to war in the first place.

Just as 70 percent of Americans oppose sending more troops to Iraq, a like number don’t think such an increase would help stabilize the situation there, the poll suggested. When asked to name the most important problem facing the U.S., 38 percent of those polled volunteered war, up significantly from 24 percent three months ago.

The AP-Ipsos telephone survey of 1,002 adults was conducted Monday through Wednesday night, when the president made his speech calling for an increase in troops. News had already surfaced before the polling period that Bush planned to boost U.S. forces in Iraq.

I think much of the problem Bush is facing with the occupation of Iraq is the way it’s been bungled and all the (lies? mistaken ideas?) the American people have heard over the years. Starting with how it would be over in "days, weeks, certinly not months".

Sorry but war has had it’s chance and it hasn’t worked. Everybody wants to try something else.

You cannot lead by chasing polls.

How many days has the Democratic party been in power? They are getting their ducks in order and will respond according to the wishes of the majority who put them in power.

Do you seriously think the Dems would "respond according to the wishes of the majority" when it runs afoul of their Left-wing agenda? Of course not. And as far as getting their ducks in order, I think you stumbled on the central problem most have with the Dem Party. They offer no workable solutions, short of running away.

This war has been going on for almost four years and their plans haven’t amounted to much more than bickering and arm-chair quarterbacking. They lack the ability or conscience to formulate a plan of action and have be reflexively coy when pressed for details about how they would do things differently. Citing a particular general as an expert to be listened to would hold more credibility if the Left didn’t seek to undermine our military the last forty years. It would also be more persuasive if they would recognize other generals think quite differently.

But it’s not about the best course of action and hasn’t been for years. It’s about sniping at the Commander in Chief while our troops are in the line of fire.

It’s an odd thing to call them feckless. When Bush hasn’t been able to get a handle on a two bit country in all these years, balance a budget, or even capture the man responsible for 9/11. Why he isn’t even looking for him anymore.

Not looking for him? It’s a little irresponsible to make that statement considering our troops continue to serve in Afghanistan.

It’s also a bit unfounded, since KSM is in custody. Ohhhhhhh, you’re talking about Osama. I thought you meant the guy who put the plan together, not the posterboy.

Perhaps you’re right, though. Maybe snarky comments and underdeveloped plans is just what would snap Iraq (and Afghanistan) into shape.

The Dems were put into power to ENACT a Left wing agenda and dismantle the Right wing agenda of the past 6 years.

The American people have spoken.

I mean be honest, at least with yourself. You had the wheel for 6 years now and you’ve failed.

It’s a good plan. 21,500 reinforcements. New Rules of Engagement. Mookie nuetered or dead. Iran & Syria to pay for their murders. Partnering with Iraq army. Employing civilian men. A new carrier group in theatre. An expanded Army and Marine Corps. Also new leadership on the ground and at Centcom. Bush wants to win the war. Democrats only want to win the next election.

I guess this means Bush needs 24,500 troops.

LONDON, Jan. 11 — Britain, which had been America’s closest and most pliant ally in Iraq, said Thursday that it would not follow the United States in raising troop levels there and signaled that it would proceed with plans to hand over security responsibilities to Iraqi forces in the south.

Britain has about 7,000 troops in Iraq, most in the southern city of Basra, and says the situation there is far less dire than in Baghdad.

Officials here dismissed as speculation, though, a report in The Daily Telegraph on Thursday that those numbers would be cut by 3,000 before the end of May.

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