The decider should take notes
"I 'm the decision-maker," the president said Friday, when he was asked for the umpteenth time about his plan to send more troops to Iraq. "I've picked the plan that I think is most likely to succeed."King George there are plenty of plans out there if you would only listen.
The president and his team of close advisers have had their way for six years, so the emergence of sharp criticism in Congress -- from Republicans and Democrats, from senators and representatives -- is a new phenomenon for them. At least seven Iraq-related proposals are floating around the Capitol, including Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer's "New Direction for Iraq Act of 2007." Most condemn the president's plan to ship 21,500 more troops into the fight.
Bush complains that Congress isn't giving his approach a chance. Those who would disagree with his strategy, the president said, "have an obligation and a serious responsibility, therefore, to put out their own plan as to what would work."
Mr. President: Please pay attention. Virginia Sen. John Warner, a respected member of your own party, clearly said last week that Congress is responding to your invitation. That's why you're getting such an assortment of resolutions and counter-proposals. That's why the Iraq Study Group offered you a lengthy list of recommendations. Perhaps, just perhaps, some of them have elements that are more likely to succeed than your idea to send five more brigades and two more battalions to Iraq.The Oregon connection:
The Blumenauer plan, for example, takes the opposite tack. It proposes scaling back troops, pushing reconstruction projects into the hands of Iraqis, funding Iraqi social organizations, welcoming Iraqi refugees and expanding diplomatic efforts. It's a thoughtful package of ideas that may be unlikely to emerge as the "Blumenauer Plan." But you never know and, at any rate, it contains good concepts to build upon.When Bush decides the results are dismal.
"I think the foundation is crumbling," Blumenauer says of the president's support in Congress. "The battle is being joined." Congress should be able to turn the policy, he predicts, within the next few months.
The president's resistance to criticism is disingenuous, at best. He's had four years of chances, thanks partly to a compliant Congress. During that time, the administration's plans have included: the light-footprint invasion of Iraq; the disbanding of the Iraqi army; an intense, costly battle for Fallujah, followed by a withdrawal, followed by another costly battle; failure to secure huge ammunition depots; inconsistent approaches taken by military commanders in different areas; faith in such exiles as Ahmed Chalabi; and a belief that the war could be funded with Iraqi oil revenues.Of course King George will not listen, at least to anybody but the insane Dick Cheney and the delusional neocons who got us into this mess.
The dismal results of those plans are what got the president to invite advice from outside the administration in the first place. Now we just wish he would listen to some of it.