Thursday, June 16, 2005

More mush from the wimp

The Bush administration finally decides something is amiss in Iraq:

Bush had hoped the successful January elections in Iraq would boost the popularity of the conflict and allow him to distance himself from it. But his aides have concluded that recent events in Iraq have contributed to an erosion in support for the president -- and that he needs to shift strategies. Bush's new approach will be mostly rhetorical, however, as the White House does not plan any changes to the policy or time frame for bringing home the 140,000 U.S. troops, as some lawmakers are demanding.

Oh, wait. Sorry. Bush is not going to do anything at all about what is actually happening in Iraq. He's just going to try to spin the public again - something he does at regular intervals when his poll numbers drop, to little noticeable effect.

All of this raises the question - is our Iraq policy headed over a cliff because our leaders have no idea what to do? It seemed that way last fall, but then the elections really did make a difference. But things are definitely deteriorating again. Marshall Wittman argues that the situation does have some disquieting Vietnam resonances. I agree with Ed Kilgore that setting dates for withdrawal, as some Democrats are how doing, is not helpful at this point. He suggests that, one way or another, the country has to have a serious debate about the future of Iraq, even if the White House won't seriously engage the issue. Which means it will fall to some of the dwindling number of grownup Republicans in Congress to push it.