‘Strategery’: Bush’s Iraq Plan Disappoints
Beware the president who says, ‘I am not a crook,’ ‘I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky’ or ‘The new strategy I outline tonight will change America’s course in Iraq.’
During a televised address to the nation on Jan. 10, President George W. Bush unveiled his ‘new strategy’ for winning the 46-month-old war in Iraq.
Then he dropped the bomb: his strategy involves investing 21,500 more troops and $6.8 billion more federal funds in what Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post writer Thomas E. Ricks calls ‘the Iraq fiasco.’
According to President Bush, 80 percent of the violence in Iraq occurs within a 30-mile radius of Baghdad; in the past, ‘there were not enough Iraqi and American troops to secure neighborhoods that had been cleared of terrorists and insurgents.’ Late last year, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki promised to crack down on militias and sectarian violence.
Bush’s plan: double the number of U.S. troops in Iraq and deploy approximately 600 soldiers per district to help Maliki control the chaos in Baghdad.
‘If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people,’ Bush said. But according to a post-speech Washington Post/ABC News poll, it’s not ‘will lose,’ it’s ‘has lost.’ Just 36 percent of Americans support sending over 20,000 more US soldiers to Iraq, while 61 percent oppose it and 52 percent strongly oppose it.
Democratic opposition aside, even Republicans fall far short of unanimous support. ‘I think this speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam if it’s carried out,’ said Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb).
Why be skeptical? Bush’s plan hinges on the Iraqi government’s ability to reorder and reorganize Baghdad.
But James Carafano, member of the Heritage Foundation and military advisor to the Iraq Study Group, argues that ‘this is a very risky strategy because it is really predicated on not what the U.S. troops do, but on what the Iraqis do.’
Bush’s speech suggests that the responsibility for ‘following through on its promises’ and earning ‘the support of the American people’ rests with ‘the Iraqi government’; however, this responsibility really rests with the American government