Bush to admit he should have sent more troops at start of war; Update: 21,500

Quid pro quo. In return for funding the surge, the left gets a taste of what it really wants — Bush publicly abasing himself with the promise of much more to come if, as expected, this last push fails to bring peace.



A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, I wrote about a dinner party Mrs. Soxblog and I held at stately Soxblog manor. One of the guests was a dignified man, about 60 years old, who despite possessing a gentle and gentlemanly manner practically frothed at the mouth with Bush hatred whenever the president’s name was mentioned.

Soon the conversation turned to the increasingly difficult struggle in Iraq. His delight over American setbacks was so palpable that I asked him if he wanted us to win in Iraq. He demurred. I repeated the question. After a long pause, he hissed, “I want this country to learn a lesson.”…

[I]t comes as quite an irony that the same people who have spent the past three years belittling “staying the course” now reflexively reject anything that resembles a course correction. They only want surrender, which will serve as an acknowledgement that America has “learned a lesson.”

And what about Democrats who aren’t ready to surrender? The fightin’ nutroots will deal with them.

“Conventional wisdom says that presidential candidates who want to be responsible on this are going to hurt themselves with the angry, impassioned activist left,” said Will Marshall, president of the Progressive Policy Institute, a centrist Democratic think tank. “But the activist left is out of sync with the American public. Americans don’t want to concede this is a total debacle.”…

Tom Andrews, a former Democratic congressman from Maine who heads the coalition [Win Without War], said that how the Democratic presidential contenders respond will be key to how liberals assess the field.

“We want true leaders to take the president on head on,” said Andrews. “How political figures respond to this challenge is going to be a key barometer.”

MoveOn.org, meanwhile, is planning a series of radio and television ads attacking lawmakers who support the Iraq war and its expansion.

Matzzie said the first ads will target Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) — the GOP presidential front-runner in many polls who has long called for a troop increase — and will air in states that hold early presidential primaries and caucuses.

Later ads also will criticize Democrats, such as Boyda, who stray from antiwar orthodoxy.


There will, alas, be no attempt to put ’em on the glass: with a hint of bitterness, the Times reports that the Democrats busying themselves with heavy-handed Lakoffian branding efforts and “symbolic” non-binding resolutions against the surge. Nothing wrong with that, but not the sort of thing you’d want to see from a new majority looking to assert itself if you’re among its constituents.

Bush will throw a bone to the right tonight, too, by admitting that the rules of engagement were “flawed,” in Fox’s words. Will that placate the base? Nope, not once they find out that the surge troops will be serving in a support role only. It sounds like a rehash of his border compromise: deploy the military but limit its role in hopes of appeasing both sides. Didn’t work before, won’t work now.

We’ll have video tonight, of course, although probably only a brief clip. It’ll go exactly how you think it will: acknowledging mistakes, emphasizing that the mission is too important to fail and that withdrawal would “embolden” our enemies, asserting that Maliki is committed to peace and the Iraqi army is much improved but both still need the help of U.S. troops temporarily to secure Baghdad, describing some of the benchmarks they’ll have to meet, and finally the perfunctory appeal to national unity that he knows won’t happen. The only surprise will be if he mentions Saddam.


Anyway. He’s all by his lonesome now. I leave you with two pieces: one from today’s AmSpec comparing his resolve to Lincoln’s and another from the Asia Times comparing it to Hitler’s. I dare say the truth lies somewhere in between.

Update: I’d like to meet that 1%.


Update: An ominous report from Alsharq Alawsat: the Mahdi army has infiltrated the Green Zone.

Update: We have a number.

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