The Spectacle Blog

RE: More on Brownback’s Fonda Moment

By on 1.12.07 | 12:56PM

Quin, with all due respect, this strikes me as a bit much. It certainly looks like Brownback is grandstanding; the e-mail you post from the Romney campaign tells against his sincerity. As you noted, I've blogged about poll numbers that would explain his shift.

All that being said, Brownback's shift may be opportunistic, but it hardly borders on being unpatriotic. Anyone who sincerely believes this policy will not work has a patriotic duty to make his case. We can then debate competing ideas and let the chips fall where they may.

Cards on the table: I was never an advocate of this intervention and I am similarly skeptical of the surge. But my more hawkish conservative brethren should be skeptical as well. The Kagan-Keane plan called for 30,000 troops lasting 18 months, concluding that anything less was likely to fail -- and there was disagreement over whether even Kagan-Keane was actually consistent with classic counterinsurgency doctrine. On what basis do we assume that this smaller infusion is a plausible strategy?

It will not do to say "the die has been cast." The president is commander-in-chief, but in a republic Congress and the people have a role to play in matters of such import as well. In announcing this new policy, President Bush admitted he was not infallible. He conceded that we have failed to secure Baghdad/>/>/>/> because, in his view, there were not enough troops and too many restrictions on the troops who were in place.

Well, why is that? And what would have been wrong with experts dissenting publicly from the old approach? If nothing, then why should this new tactic be immune from debate? Sure, the president wants to win the war. But liberals judge policies by their intentions, not conservatives.

I understand that you object mainly to the time and place Brownback announced his suspicious change in position on the surge. But this distinction may be lost of the majority of Americans who appear to agree with the new Brownback rather than the old one. It certainly is something worth keeping in mind as you make the public case for the surge.

Let's agree that it is wrong for candidates to put their personal political advantage above the national interest, especially when our troops are in harm's way. I hope we can also agree that sometimes people will have legitimate disagreements about how best to serve those interests and we can debate them respectfully.

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