Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 9, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

BUSH AND THE WAR....NATO countries even those who support the Iraq war are apparently losing hope that George Bush has any clue how to win it:

The Western military alliance had expected to announce at a June summit that it would accept a role in the country, perhaps by leading the international division now patrolling south-central Iraq. But amid continuing bloodshed and strong public opposition to the occupation in many nations, allies want to delay any major commitment until after the U.S. presidential election in November, officials say.

Gee, I wonder what they think might change after the elections in November?

Meanwhile, our own generals aren't too happy either. Say it quietly, but they seem to think Iraq is looking more and more like Vietnam:

I lost my brother in Vietnam," [said Colonel Paul] Hughes, a veteran Army strategist who is involved in formulating Iraq policy. "I promised myself, when I came on active duty, that I would do everything in my power to prevent that [sort of strategic loss] from happening again. Here I am, 30 years later, thinking we will win every fight and lose the war, because we don't understand the war we're in."

....A senior general at the Pentagon said he believes the United States is already on the road to defeat. "It is doubtful we can go on much longer like this," he said. "The American people may not stand for it -- and they should not."

Asked who was to blame, this general pointed directly at Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz. "I do not believe we had a clearly defined war strategy, end state and exit strategy before we commenced our invasion," he said.

And of course, serious criticism has been brewing for quite a while in the ranks of influential neocons, originally the most enthusiastic supporters of the "democracy at gunpoint" school of international relations.

So: support for Bush's vapid, gentleman's-C approach to war is now rapidly declining among our allies, among the uniformed military, and among hawkish neocons. Liberals were mostly against the war to begin with, and moderates increasingly think it was a mistake too.

So who's left? There's National Review, which still clings to the Bush-as-rockjawed-leader storyline, but that seems to be about it.

Bottom line: if you were against the idea of transforming the Middle East via war, you should be against Bush because he had the wrong idea. Conversely, if you were in favor of transformation you should be against Bush for making such a total hash of the idea.

However, if the reality is that you don't seriously care about the war at all, but instead harbor only a fuming, obsessive desire to keep Democrats out of office at all costs, Bush is your man. I wonder how many of those people there are?

Kevin Drum 5:27 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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