Thursday, January 11, 2007

Resolve or Cynicism?

Over at, Fred Kaplan wonders whether Bush's speech last night escalating the Iraq War by deploying 20,000 additional troops to Baghdad and Anbar province is virtue of steely-eyed resolve or duplicitous cynicism.

But the worst of it is that Bush didn't articulate any backup plan if the troop surge fails. Kaplan argues any sensible backup plan would include regional diplomacy including Iran and Syria to avert a civil war from becoming a regional conflagration, but he believes Bush destroyed this option during the middle of his address.
Halfway into the speech, it seemed for a moment that Bush might address this issue. "Succeeding in Iraq also requires … stabilizing the region in the face of the extremist challenge," he said, a task that "begins with addressing Iran and Syria." But then, instead of calling for, say, talks with those countries, Bush said that their regimes have provided material support to the insurgents. "We will disrupt the attacks on our forces," the president warned. "We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq."

Really? All we can muster for Iraq is a paltry 20,000 extra troops; even they will accomplish little without massive infusions from a dubious Iraqi military and miraculous political breakthroughs from a faltering Iraqi government—and President Bush, at such a desperate moment, talks about expanding the war to Iran and Syria? It's shiveringly scary.
For Bush, the drum beat never dulls, it only gets louder.