November 28, 2005

JON HENKE on the Democrats’ latest Iraq pronouncements:

So, after 2 years of debating Iraq policy, the Democrats have decided that training Iraqi security forces to take over and reducing US deployments as they do—”as Iraq stands up, we will stand down”—is the best course in Iraq? And this epiphany, Richard Cohen writes, may have “pointed the administration and the country toward a realistic and modestly hopeful course on Iraq.” . . .

This was the strategy Bush enunciated in August of 2003, September of 2003, May of 2004, and many other times. It was the strategy outlined in this May 2004 “Fact Sheet: The Transition to Iraqi Self-Government”.

The Democrats have not come up with a new Iraq Policy. They’ve jumped onboard the Bush administration’s existing policy, with the novel new suggestion that we stay the course…but try harder.

Personally, I think that letting them pretend they’re suggesting something novel is a small price to pay for bringing them onboard, if that’s what it accomplishes. I suspect the White House will feel the same way.

Unfortunately, the Democrats’ efforts to look as if they’re presenting something new have led them to wrap their proposals in Vietnamesque language, which has the potential to do damage in and of itself. As I said earlier: “I think that an agreement to withdraw as a democratically elected Iraqi government wants, and in a fashion that ensures it can handle the insurgents, is very different from an immediate unilateral withdrawal at the behest of U.S. politicians who say the war is ‘unwinnable.’”

That kind of language — the “unwinnable” comes from Rep. Murtha — makes a difference, as do the tiresome and inaccurate Vietnam references and “Bush lied” claims, a product of partisan politics and Boomer narcissism.

UPDATE: Reader Rick Skeean emails:

You should say”some narcissistic Boomers”. The way you phrased it makes you guilty of “Boomerism”, a form of bigotry no less pernicious than any “ism.”

Fair enough. Though the narcissist Boomers seem heavily overrepresented in politics and the media. Then again, that makes sense . . . .

MORE: Joe Lieberman, back from Iraq, says he’s encouraged by what he saw.