First - is the surge working? While most admit there has been no progress on the political front Republicans and even many Democrats seem to think there has been some military success. Kevin Drum takes a look at the numbers for June/July, 06 and compares them with the numbers from June/July, 07 and finds that in most cases things are worse.
Jim Hoagland becomes the latest to rip apart Bush's comparison of Iraq to Vietnam in Bush's Vietnam Blunder. Hoagland agrees that while it may fire up the swift boat base it will hurt the Bush cause overall. Bush is reminding people of all the wrong things.
Josh Marshall expands on Hoagland's commentary and points out that the US was bigger than Vietnam and that it is bigger than Iraq. The US survived the defeat in Vietnam and will survive a withdrawal from Iraq. The same can't be said for the legacy of George W. Bush.
And here I think we get back to the root of the matter: We are bigger than Iraq.Atrios takes it a step further - beyond George W. Bush.
By that I do not mean we, as America, are bigger or better than Iraq as a country. I mean that that sum of our national existence is not bound up in what happens there. The country will go on. Whatever happens, we'll recover from it. And whatever might happen, there are things that matter much more to this country's future -- like whether we have a functioning military any more, whether our economy is wrecked, whether this country tears itself apart over this catastrophe. But we'll go on and look back at this and judge what happened.
Not so for the president. For him, this is it. He's not bigger than this. His entire legacy as president is bound up in Iraq. Which is another way of saying that his legacy is pretty clearly an irrecoverable shambles. That is why, as the folly of the enterprise becomes more clear, he must continually puff it up into more and more melodramatic and world-historical dimensions. A century long ideological struggle and the like. For the president a one in a thousand shot at some better outcome is well worth it, no matter what the cost. Because at least that's a one in a thousand shot at not ending his presidency with the crushing verdict history now has in store. It's also worth just letting things keep on going as they are forever because, like Micawber, something better might turn up. Going double or nothing by expanding the war into Iran might be worth it too for the same reason. For him, how can it get worse?
And when you boil all this down what it comes down to is that the president now has very different interests than the country he purports to lead.
But it isn't just the president. It's also all of the Very Serious People who have no trouble doubling down on their bets again and again. They're playing with other peoples' money and other peoples' lives, and why not wait another Friedman or two to see if that lottery ticket hits.And about those Generals
It's been going on for years now, and the cowards who rule us won't make it stop.
Top general to urge Iraq troop cut
WASHINGTON -- The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is expected to advise President Bush to reduce the U.S. force in Iraq next year by almost half, potentially creating a rift with top White House officials and other military commanders over the course of the war.
Administration and military officials say Marine Gen. Peter Pace is likely to convey concerns by the Joint Chiefs that keeping well in excess of 100,000 troops in Iraq through 2008 will severely strain the military. This assessment could collide with one being prepared by the U.S. commander in Iraq, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, calling for the U.S. to maintain higher troop levels for 2008 and beyond.
Pace's recommendations reflect the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who initially expressed private skepticism about the strategy ordered by Bush and directed by Petraeus, before publicly backing it.I guess we know now why Pace is on his way out the door. The man to watch here is Defense Secretary Robert Gates. He is not a Bush/Cheney sycophant and realizes that Bush misadventure in Iraq is destroying the military.