Republicans and Iraq - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Republicans and Iraq

The NY Times reports that the White House has begun a debate over a possible pullout from Iraq with support eroding among Senate Republicans. The WSJ, meanwhile, editorializes:

The last of the brigades President Bush ordered for his military surge in Iraq only arrived in the country last month, and they have been heavily engaged with al Qaeda in the Sunni triangle around Baghdad as part of the new military strategy. So it’s especially distressing that Republican Senators should decide that this is the time to separate themselves from Mr. Bush on Iraq.

If the U.S. does end up withdrawing from Iraq in what is widely viewed as a defeat, many war supporters such as editorialists at the WSJ will argue that surge was showing signs of success, and if it weren’t for Democrats, the media, and weak Republican Senators, we may have won. Just for the record, I do believe that the surge should be given more time to work before we consider withdrawal, however, I don’t think that President Bush should escape blame if mounting political pressure forces him to withdraw sooner than he would have liked. The truth is, both before the invasion, and for years after the invasion, President Bush was encouraged to send more troops to Iraq–including prominently by John McCain. Bush could have replaced Rumsfeld and attempted a sustained surge in early 2005, from a position of strength after winning re-election. Not only would the political environment been more receptive, but it would have been before the sectarian violence spiraled out of control in Iraq, so the chances of success would have been greater. Now that Republican support is starting to peel back, many war supporters are arguing that the surge has only been in full effect for a month, and hasn’t been given enough of a chance. While I agree, it must also be said that the long troop deployment time was again, a legacy of Rumsfeld’s stubborn refusal to increase the size of the military while fighting two wars at once. There is no reason why the American military should have taken 4-5 months to deploy 20,000 troops. So now we’re in a situation in which even though the surge has only been in full effect for about a month, in the public consciousness, it has been going on since Bush announced it in January. The point of all of this is while it’s easy to blame the media, the politicizing of the war by the opposition party, and the impatience of the American people, like it or not, these are all realities of modern warfare that need to be taken into account as part of any strategy.

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