Thursday, July 12, 2007

The 'Benchmark' Excuse

Editorial - July 12th, 2007 - The Wall Street Journal (

In an interview this week in the New York Post, General David Petraeus noted that while the performance of the Iraqi Army has been mixed, "their losses in June were three times ours." To suggest that Iraqis aren't willing to fight for their freedom is an insult to their families.

General Petraeus also noted that "the level of sectarian deaths in Baghdad in June was the lowest in about a year," evidence that in this key battlefield the surge is making progress. As a result, al Qaeda is being forced to pick its targets in more remote areas, as it did last week in the village of Amirli near Kirkuk, where more than 100 civilians were murdered. More U.S. troops and the revolt of Sunni tribal leaders against al Qaeda are the most hopeful indicators in many months that the insurgency can be defeated.

But that isn't going to happen under the timetable now contemplated by Congress.

For the first time since the Civil War, a preponderance of our citizens are publicly rooting for the defeat of American forces. If you add up both the forces who wanted Lincoln to abandon the South and the overwhelming majority in the South who were opposed to the Union, it is clear that a truly democratic vote taken at that time would have split our nation.

Despite the high probability that defeat in Iraq will lead to defeat in the World War currently being waged against Islamofascism, we are at a point where a vote by our citizens would be in the majority for "cut and run". They don't define it that way, and most of our citizens simply reject the argument that defeat in Iraq matters. That is Bush's fault.

It does not help that we have a President who is so tongue tied and tone deaf that he cannot explain the consequences of defeat. George W. Bush has damaged the Republican Party badly because he never understood anything about the true motivations of most of the party. He campaigned as a "compassionate conservative". What this has meant is big government programs. In other words, not conservative at all. He was actually helped to win by his inability to communicate clearly. If Republicans had understood what he was selling, he would never have been the standard bearer for the Republican Party.

We are now in World War IV. Bush never says that. He seems to imply that his job is to never give the nation bad news or talk about the need for sacrifice. The nation is being poorly served by Bush's inability to lead or communicate. Bush cannot lead by the only measure that matters for a President, picking the important issue and rallying our nation behind the winning strategy. If we leave Iraq, Bush has to go down in history as one of the most incompetent Presidents ever.


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