Saturday, 5 May 2007

Hanging On

Jay Bookman at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution makes the point that George Bush is just trying to hang on to pass the problem of Iraq on to his successor.

Any claim that President Bush is committed to victory in Iraq is contradicted by the facts. He is instead committing us to slow defeat, a defeat timed to come after he leaves office, on another president's watch so another president takes blame.

And if the current president has to purchase another 20 months in Iraq with the lives and limbs of our soldiers, and with the continued degradation of a military that we may need again in the not-so-distant future — well, he is apparently willing to make that deal.

All the evidence supports this view as he goes on to explain.

If Bush had been truly committed to victory, he would have paid the price for it. Sometime in the past five years, he would have found the hundreds of thousands of additional troops our generals have said from the beginning that they needed to succeed.

Being truly committed to winning also would have meant not just sending our military off to war, which was easy. It would have meant sending this nation to war as well, which was hard and something the president has never dared ask of the American people. For most of us, this is a war in which other people fight and die, and that other people will pay for. Under the president's leadership, we have become the only generation in U.S. history so selfish that we gave ourselves major tax cuts while our kids were fighting and dying, and for that we ought to be ashamed.

Most of all, a commitment to winning would have required taking the war effort seriously. It was not. It was not seriously planned, it was not seriously considered, it has not been seriously fought. And as a result, we find ourselves in a terrible dilemma.

H/T to Dan Froomkin's excellent White House Watch.

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