I was dead wrong about the Iraq Study Group. I said the fix was in because Jim Baker was leading the study. I thought the President would wrap his arms around Baker’s proposal and use it for a fig-leaf to get us out of Iraq in short order. Instead the President looked Baker (and company) straight in the eye and said no way. No way to talks with Syria and Iran (unless they give up their pursuit of nuclear weapons).
Then the President went a step further. He called on Congress to strengthen our army. That, no doubt, will be greeted by the ‘Peace Wing’ of the Democratic Party with a howl of outrage but you have to give Bush credit – when was the last time you saw a politician dare to take a stand this unpopular?
One unexpected benefit of the election is President Bush is no longer talking about “staying the course” or pretending the war in Iraq is on track. He’s facing the fact that we have a mess on our hands and looking for ways to fix it.
One reason Iraq turned into a quagmire is we fought the war with the Rumsfeld Doctrine – and not the Powell Doctrine. One analyst described the difference this way: In Iraq, the Rumsfeld Doctrine called for using just enough troops to loose; the Powell Doctrine was to use overwhelming force. It may be too late to put the genie back in the bottle in Baghdad, but, maybe, finally, we are learning from out mistakes. That matters. Because, long term, we still have a war on the terrorism to win. Give President Bush his due. By strengthening our army he is, at last, correcting one of our first errors in that war.
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