I once belonged to the Book of the Month Club, as well as the Beer of the Month Club — but, I tell you, one thing I can’t subscribe to is George W.’s Iraq Strategy of the Month Club.
The original strategy was to find weapons of mass destruction. That failed. Then there was the “Bring Democracy to Iraq” strategy, which has also failed in a blitzkrieg of theocracy, sectarian hatred and civil war. Next came the “we’ll stand down as they stand up” strategy, which looked good on paper but, alas, the Iraqi troops have not shown up, much less stood up. But wait, cried Mr. Bush, I’ve got another new strategy. We’ll “surge” 20,000 more U.S. troops into Iraq, concentrate them in Baghdad to stop the violence there and then somehow we’ll “win.” Well, our troops have surged, but even the Pentagon admits that the violence has surged, too. Concentrating on Baghdad only spread the killing to the rest of the country and produced a spike in the killing of American soldiers. And now the violence is rising again.
So, yet another policy shift is presently spinning out of the White House. This latest one is Mr. Bush’s Korean strategy. Instead of hoping for quick results from his old surge, he now says we must settle into Iraq for the long haul, stationing maybe 50,000 troops there more or less permanently, just as we’ve done in South Korea.
Now even Republicans aren’t joining his Strategy of the Month Club, and their candidates are fleeing from his war. Rudy Giuliani, the GOP’s presidential frontrunner who’s posing as Mr. Tough on Terrorism, listed the Big 12 issues of his campaign — and Iraq didn’t even make the list. Asked about this, Rudy the Tough Guy weakly said: “We may be successful in Iraq; we may not be. I don’t know the answer to that. That’s in the hands of other people.” Yeah — such other people as voters.