Bush Sets Target for Iraq Transition

(See here) a Washington Post article by Peter Baker that reports on a recent speech given by Dubyah.

First, my position on Iraq. I was against the invasion of Iraq for a number of reasons. Amongst these reasons is that I did not think the American people would have the stomach for a long slog if, as has happened, a long slog became necessary. Now that we have made a mess over there, I think it is our duty to clean up the mess we have made. I do not think we should "cut and run" however I am unwilling to stay over there forever, beating our heads against the wall without any significant improvement. I hope our leadership has the wisdom to lead us in doing the best job we can and then pull us out when we have done all that reasonably can be done. Hopefully we do not wear out our welcome to the point that our presence aggravates the situation instead of contributing to stability.

So what does Dubyah have to say about it?

"As more capable Iraqi police and soldiers come on line, they will assume
responsibility for more territory with the goal of having the Iraqis control
more territory than the coalition by the end of 2006," he said in a speech
to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Sounds pretty reasonable to me. He defines a goal which might be reasonably attained.

But what does the Democrat opposition have to say about it? From House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif):

"Instead of launching yet another public relations campaign, President Bush
should use his speeches this week to provide a strategy to bring our brave men
and women home safely and soon..."

OK Nancy, instead of just throwing stones, what steps should Dubyah take that are not being taken. Sounds to me like we are not going to make Nancy happy unless we "cut and run" and then the sooner the better. To tell you the truth, the fact that the majority of Democrats serving in the House elected Nancy to be their "Leader" is one of the reasons I would have difficulty calling myself a Democrat.

From Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (N.J.) said:

"It is time for President Bush to stop the spin and start telling the truth
about the harsh realities we are confronting in Iraq."

OK Frank, do you really think Dubyah should reasonably be expected to point out how bad things are going over there? I am fairly certain most Americans realize we are not engaged in a walk in the park. I am more interested from hearing from Dubyah where he thinks things could end up and where, as he fulfills his duties as Commander-In-Chief, he is trying to lead us. From Dubyah I heard a little bit of something, and yes I even sense he might be facing up to failed policies and setting slightly less grandiose targets. From you, Frank, I am hearing carping.

From Rep. Dan Boren (Okla.), a reportedly centrist Democrat:

"This was a step in the right direction... Benchmarks set, clear, defined goals, and if we see more and more Iraqis being trained and put on the ground, then that means we can bring more Americans home."

Now that is more like it. Less partisan sniping and a willingness to meet Dubyah halfway. Instead of insisting anything Dubyah has to say must be wrong for some reason or another, Dan is willing to sign on when leadership attempts become reasonable. Hopefully people like Dan can hold Dubyah's feet to the fire. Dubyah can talk the talk, will he walk the walk?

From the Washington Times comes (this) report on Dubyah's speech written by Stephen Dinan. In passing I will remark that the Times chose to spend more time reporting on what Dubyah had to say about Iran becoming involved in the conflict then where Dubyah was trying to lead us (the Post also reported on this). I only point to this article because it includes a quote from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (Nev) who had this to say:

"Instead of redoubling his efforts to help form the representative government in
Iraq that is essential for defeating the insurgency and ending the sectarian
violence, the president has launched another public-relations campaign here at

Harry's position is worthy of note because here, at least, I see some honest criticism. It has been months since the Iraqi election took place and the elected officials have still yet to form a government. Perhaps the Dubyah administration does need to pay more attention to this detail.

I am willing to listen to what Dubyah has to say. Yes I will join in condemning Dubyah for getting us into the mess in the first place, but as I remember it, there were a whole lot of Democrats supporting Dubyah as we rushed into the invasion of Iraq. There is plenty of blame to go around. If Democrats think they have a better way to get us out of the mess, I am waiting to hear about it. Democrats, too, better be willing to shoulder some of the blame for us finding ourselves in the situation we are in.

Personally, I am going to try and hold the Democrats as accountable for finding a reasonable solution as possible to the problems we face in Iraq. I do not define unabashedly partisan sniping as being reasonable.


Blogger Michael said...

The advantage of being in opposition to the government is that you don't necessarily have to "provide the answers". That is the government's job, and rightly so.

It is the duty of the opposition to bring to air when the government is screwing up.

I suppose I got a somewhat different message from that article. Bush's "plan" is plain waffle - and as per some of the criticisms, a "PR stunt".

There are no firm goals. There is no indication how the transition is to be done. Apart from that fact that Bush wants Iraqi units to progressively take control of Iraq (which is self-evident), there isn't really any goal of withdrawal of troops.

I suppose what it comes down to is that Bush is pretty much just spinning "more of the same" as some sort of announcement. Now, that's okay if "more of the same" was giving results. Not too many people would agree that results are happening in Iraq.


3/15/2006 12:07:00 AM  
Blogger Little David said...

Sorry Michael, but I am unwilling to accept that the opposition is only required to sit back and carp without providing a clear alternative.

If the opposition wants to win my vote I expect them to come up with a preferable alternative instead of just sitting back and whining.

4/04/2006 09:34:00 AM  

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