President Bush is reportedly leaning toward injecting as many as 50,000 new troops into the Iraq conflict in an effort to establish security. Fred Barnes writes about the plan:
It envisions a temporary addition of 50,000 troops on the ground in Iraq. The initial mission would be to secure and hold the mixed Baghdad neighborhoods of Shia and Sunni residents where most of the violence occurs. Earlier efforts had cleared many of those sections of the city without holding them. After which, the mass killings resumed. Once neighborhoods are cleared, American and Iraqi troops in this plan would remain behind, living day-to-day among the population. Local government leaders would receive protection and rewards if they stepped in to provide basic services. Safe from retaliation by terrorists, residents would begin to cooperate with the Iraqi government. The securing of Baghdad would be followed by a full-scale drive to pacify the Sunni-majority Anbar province.
Soon to be Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid likes the idea:
The Senate’s incoming majority leader said he would support a temporary increase of U.S. military forces in Iraq, so long as any such act was tied to a withdrawal by 2008.
“If it’s for a surge — that is, for two or three months — and it’s part of a program to get us out of there as indicated by this time next year, then, sure, I’ll go along with it,” Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, said on ABC’s “This Week.”
But how will more liberal elements of the Democratic Party react? In their eyes, wouldn’t this be seen as making a bad mistake worse? Ted Kennedy speaks for the extreme left when he says he disagrees with Reid:
“Well, I respect Harry Reid on it, but that’s not where I am,” Mr. Kennedy told “Fox News Sunday.” “The generals who have testified before the Armed Services Committee think that we would add to being a crutch for the Iraqi civilian government in not making the right judgments and decisions. I think that is a persuasive case and is one that I support.”
And speaking of the Kos crowd, here is there reaction:
I try to tell myself not to second guess Senator Reid too often…
The political problem, of course, is the same one we’ve been dealing with all along. Fear of the “Dems are soft on the war/terror” meme. Or its evil twin, “We coulda won if it hadn’t been for those meddling Democrats.”
But the time has come to cut Bush off. He’s out of political capital, and is casting his eyes about to see if anyone will nod assent to putting his counterfeit Rolex on the table to get back in the game.
Nobody profits from playing cards with a degenerate gambler who can’t cover his bets. Least of all one who has nothing to lose from taking a beating rather than paying up.
It seems that the Kos contingency will not be happy with anything other than withdrawal. The “surge” option puts Democrats in an awkward position. If they oppose it, they run the risk of appearing disinterested in victory in Iraq. If they support it they own a new Iraq policy and therefore own the Iraq problem.