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October 31, 2006 [LINK / comment]
Readjusting the course
Now that President Bush has backed away from "stay the course" as a rallying cry, several questions emerge. Was this change appropriate? (Yes.) Was it timely? (No.) Will it help the Republicans hold on to Congress? (No.) Daniel Drezner agrees with me on that last point: "From a political perspective, however, my hunch is that this shift in rhetoric will be a disaster." Indeed, the change from Bush's prior insistence that we had to persevere now calls into question other aspects of U.S. war policy. He needs to be extremely careful in how he phrases war policy for the next few delicate months, as the transition toward greater Iraqi control over security proceeds. As Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki takes an increasingly assertive stance toward the United States, Bush needs to display extreme tact and statesmanlike poise. We want the Iraqis to stand up for themselves, and Bush needs to tone down the macho war rhetoric so that Americans get used to dealing with the Iraqis as equal partners.
Drezner was also quite right to highlight the "Vietnam analogy" in this situation, but not for the reason you might think. As most reasonably objective people understand, the ongoing slaughter in Iraq is almost certainly part of an orchestrated campaign to undermine the American people's will, just as the the Tet Offensive was in 1968. Many Americans still don't "get" Tet, in which a clear U.S. military victory was transformed into a geopolitical defeat thanks to the eroding credibility of the Johnson administration, especially Bob McNamara's Pentagon. The Viet Cong suffered devastating losses in Tet, after which the North Vietnamese Army became the primary locus of enemy resistance. We lost the Vietnam War in no small part because LBJ was afraid of directly confronting the main suppliers of the communist forces -- Red China. The corresponding external patron of the enemy forces in the Iraq War is the Islamic Republic of Iran. Victory or defeat in Iraq will depend on whether we confront Tehran.
Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 01 Nov 2006, 12: 04 AM
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January 7, 2006 ~ DeLay gives up majority leader post
January 12, 2006 ~ Alito withstands Dems' "torture"
January 16, 2006 ~ Michelle Bachelet wins in Chile
January 19, 2006 ~ Views on Iran's nuclear ambitions
January 24, 2006 ~ Fallout from Canada's election
January 31, 2006 ~ Second (& third) thoughts on Iran
February 1, 2006 ~ The State of the Union, 2006
February 8, 2006 ~ D.C. Council votes "yes," but...
February 18, 2006 ~ Checks and balances in wartime
February 22, 2006 ~
Neocons & Neolibs: chastened alike
February 28, 2006 ~
The Dubai Ports World uproar
March 14, 2006 ~ New D.C. baseball stadium unveiled
March 24, 2006 ~ In the footsteps of France?
April 7, 2006 ~ Immigration compromise fails
May 16, 2006 ~ Bush militarizes Mexican border
June 6, 2006 ~ Alan Garcia triumphs, once again
June 9, 2006 ~
Zarqawi: The death of a terrorist
July 3, 2006 ~
Election in Mexico: too close to call
July 5, 2006 ~ North Korea goes ballistic
July 28, 2006 ~ Garcia prepares to lead Peru, again
August 4, 2006 ~ Israel invades Hezbolland
September 6, 2006 ~ "Crunchy conservatives": for real?
September 25, 2006 ~ Nationalists thwart conservation
October 3, 2006 ~ Nationals: Year in review
October 29, 2006 ~ Virginia's marriage amendment
November 7, 2006 ~ The people render their verdict
November 8, 2006 ~ Republicans lose big time
November 9, 2006 ~ Allen concedes / Election post-mortem
November 13, 2006 ~ Toward consensus on Iraq?
December 1, 2006 ~ Realism and our goals in Iraq
December 6, 2006 ~ Latin America & U.S. trade policy
December 8, 2006 ~ Iraq Study Group reports
December 22, 2006 ~ Yuletide political roundup
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The "home made" blog organization system that I created was instituted on November 1, 2004, followed by several functional enhancements in subsequent years. I make no more than one blog post per day on any one category, so some posts may cover multiple news items or issues. Blog posts appear in the following (reverse alphabetical) order, which may differ from the chronological order in which the posts were originally made:
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