'We're Going to Win'
The president finally has a plan for victory.
Now Bush is ready to gamble his presidency on a last-ditch effort to defeat the Sunni insurgency and establish a sustainable democracy in Iraq. He is prepared to defy the weary wisdom of Washington that it's too late, that the war in Iraq is lost, and that Bush's lone option is to retreat from Iraq as gracefully and with as little loss of face as possible. Bush only needed what his press secretary, Tony Snow, called a "plan for winning." Now he has one.So what is the latest "plan for victory"? As many of us feared it is the plan by the American Enterprise Institutes's Fred Kagan that I discussed here and here.
It's not to be found among the 79 recommendations of Jim Baker's Iraq Study Group. The ISG report was tossed aside by the White House. Nor was the scheme leaked by the Pentagon last
week ever close to being adopted. That plan would pull thousands of American troops out of a combat role and turn them into trainers of the Iraqi army.
Last Monday Bush was, at last, briefed on an actual plan for victory in Iraq, one that is likely to be implemented. Retired General Jack Keane, the former vice chief of staff of the Army, gave him a thumbnail sketch of it during a meeting of five outside experts at the White House. The president's reaction, according to a senior adviser, was "very positive." Authored by Keane and military expert Frederick W. Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute, the plan (which can be read at aei.org/publication25292) is well thought-out and detailed, but fundamentally quite simple. It is based on the idea--all but indisputable at this point--that no political solution is possible in Iraq until security is established, starting in Baghdad. The reverse--a bid to forge reconciliation between majority Shia and minority Sunni--is a nonstarter in a political environment drenched in the blood of sectarian killings.Of course Barnes' indisputable point is disputed by many if not most and is in fact the opposite of the truth. Security won't be established unless there is at least a hint of a political solution on the horizon and more US troops make that even less likely. The additional, and in fact the current, troop levels can only be sustained for a few weeks or months. The insurgents of course know this.
Of course the problem is that George W. Bush is as stubborn as any adolescent male. Having raised to sons I see George W. Bush for the adolescent male he is. As Peter Baker says today; Stubborn or Stalwart, Bush Is Loath to Budge. These are the qualities of a teenage boy not a world leader.