The president will outline his strategy for winning in Iraq today in what is being billed as a major speech to be delivered at the US Naval Academy. According to information being released by the White House, the president will say that victory in Iraq comes in three parts:
*Short term, Iraq is making steady progress in fighting terrorists, meeting political milestones, building democratic institutions, and standing up security forces.
*Medium term, Iraq is in the lead defeating terrorists and providing its own security, with a fully constitutional government in place, and on its way to achieving its economic potential.
*Longer term, Iraq is peaceful, united, stable, and secure, well integrated into the international community, and a full partner in the global war on terrorism.
More later on this. The biggest and most obvious problem with this is that almost nothing is said about the wider war. The president is making the same enormous mistake he has made since 2003 by implying that once Iraq is over, the war is over. It is essential to lay out our goals for Iraq. But to do so without saying that they are only one step in the war — and in the context of defining victory in the global war on terrorists and the nations that support them — weakens the case on Iraq.