Guest Blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review
After months of hype, General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker testified before the House Armed Services Committee yesterday about the status of George W. Bush's war in Iraq. Although neither of Bush's men uttered the exact phrase, the essence of their testimony could be summed up in three little words: "Stay the course."
Republicans --- especially the half-dozen or so GOP senators facing election in unsafe seats next year --- will take comfort in Petreaus's promise to recommend ending the surge by next summer. But even if Petreaus recommends reducing deployments to pre-surge levels, and if Bush agrees to it, the only surprise will be that the surge strategy itself was not a false cover for a permanent troop build-up. (And that remains to be seen.)
The stark reality is that Bush's current Iraq policy draws heavily from the playbook of his predecessor from Texas, Lyndon Johnson. The Vietnam War decimated LBJ's presidency, forcing him to leave office with no resolution in sight. Just as LBJ left the mess he created for Nixon and Ford to clean up, now Bush intends to leave his war in Iraq to his successor. As Ken Pollack at Brookings put it: "Bush has found his exit strategy."
Nothing matters --- not the safety of the troops, the lives and well-being of Iraqis, the viability of the U.S. military, or, certainly, the anti-Iraq war sentiments of a majority of Americans --- none of it matters in the face of Bush's urgent desire to rewrite his epitaph so that it won't say the war he started based on deception, divisiveness, and rank ineptitude was lost on his watch.
This strategy is as flawed as it is cynical. Look again at Johnson. Handing Vietnam to Nixon did nothing to improve his legacy. What saved Johnson's reputation was the fact he signed the Civil Rights Act, plus his stoic leadership in the wake of the Kennedy assassination.
Bush has no accomplishments --- nothing --- to weigh against this disastrous war. And the fact that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of U.S. troops and innocent Iraqis will die for the impossible goal of salvaging his place in history just compounds his disgrace.
UPDATE FROM BRAD: The good Pokey Anderson sends us this toon, which meshes neatly with Jon's commentary above...
Plus...Liberal, terrorist-loving, America-hating, cut-and-run, surrenderer George Will says "the surge has failed"...