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Thursday, June 30, 2005

So What Now?

Bush's speech was mearly OK. It did what it needed to do, but an opportunity was missed. Bush made the mistake of answering a question the country wasnt asking. Poll numbers arent going down because people have forgotten how and why Iraq is now central to the war on terrorism. Poll numbers are dropping because the people haven't been sufficiently and honestly told where we stand, what our goals are, and how we plan to get to them.

Now Bush touched on this to some degree, but it should have been the focus of his entire speech. The few Democrats that arent still arguing over why we shouldn't have gone to Iraq in the first place (a moot, unserious, pointless debate that has devoured the left) bring up 'facts' and issues that the White House doesnt address very well.

To their credit, Joe Biden and John Kerry are looking at Iraq as a problem to be solved instead of a political loadstone that must be firmly fitted to the President. To their shame, their talking points range from the immaterial to the flatly false. But Bush has broken one of his own political rules by not immediately addressing these arguments with overwhelming force. When Joe Biden says:
"the answer is that there are very few of those Iraqis who are trained to the only standard that counts, that is, the ability to take over for an American troop."

It's a reasonable point. But where is the correct reply, that at this moment we dont need Iraqi forces up to American standards, with perfect logistics and command and control. Who is noting that although only three IA battalions are what is considered 'combat ready' by our standards, we dont need them to have the heavy weapons and tanks required for such a certification just yet? Who is countering Biden by noting that over 40,000 Iraqi troops at this moment have taken over controlling Baghdad in Operation Thunder and Operation Lightning, have in fact freed up enough US forces so we could carry out Operation New Market and Operation Spear hence bringing the fight to the enemy at a far greater tempo then we have yet seen?

These are the kind of strategic issues the average voter doesnt know about, much less understand. Bush needs to explain the we dont yet need Iraqi forces totally prepared to send American boys home. That is at least 18 months off, by the most optimistic estimates. Bush needs to tell us that there are already tens of thousands of Iraqi troops in the field despite what Biden says. Tell us where they are, how many attacks they have stopped, how many terrorists detained. Bush should explain the ramifications of thousands of newly freed up American troops policing the borders and launching strikes, and how every unit untied from garrison duty is just as good as a fresh unit brought in theater. In fact better.

In short, Bush needs to explain why, although the insurgency may be no weaker, we grow stronger. The insurgents are becoming relatively, if not absolutely, weaker. The American public needs to be told that every day we get closer to victory, because every day Iraqis get closer to security and justice. If 1000 Iraqi rifles can replace only 100 American, thats still 100 more American GIs and marines who can go out hunting terror instead of garrisoning checkpoints. Think about what that will mean in 6 weeks, in 6 months, in 2 years.

The White House hasnt made this simple yet critical point. Insugents win by slowly becoming stronger until they match and overwhelm their target. An insurgency that gets weaker over time is doomed. Tell the people what the plan is, and how it works. We know why we are there, now tell us what we are doing to get our boys and girls home victorious.


  • At 5:57 AM, Blogger Pofarmer said…

    I think no matter what Bush says, the MSM and the Dems will snipe it too death. I also wonder, how many people really understand the dynamics of what is going on over there, or really have the capacity to? I'm always amazed by Jaywalking, or Hannity's man on the street segments. It's always amazing what your average person has no clue about. There's a core on the left that will never be convinced. There's a core on the right that don't need to be convinced. In the center, I'm not sure the people know enough, or give a rip enough, to do anything than bounce with the latest soundbite. So, I guess from a poll number soundbite hitting the message constantly would be a good move, but they've been doing that. Rummy's been doing it and Byrd all but called him a liar. Rice has been doing it and she practically gets jeered. Scott McClellan tries it and he get's more questions about Gitmo or Abu Ghraib in another "when did you stop beating your wife" moment. The media doesn't wanna put the message out there, and the editorials and the Dems will just swamp it anyway. Don't know, maybe I'm a little too pessismistic with the bulk of the American People.


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