Monday, November 28, 2005

Dems on Iraq: We say what you said.

Nation: Instapundit cites this passage from Jon Henke.

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.
Who can fault the Dems from trying to take credit for a policy already in place when the White House and GOP refuse to articulate it. One of the more astounding goofs from the Admin and the GOP is letting the Dems and the media do jab after jab on them without trying to defend themselves better. Fortunately for the White House/GOP, poll numbers suggest the public doesn't buy the Democrats rhetoric.
Seventy percent of people surveyed said that criticism of the war by Democratic senators hurts troop morale — with 44 percent saying morale is hurt “a lot,” according to a poll taken by RT Strategies. Even self-identified Democrats agree: 55 percent believe criticism hurts morale, while 21 percent say it helps morale. The results surely will rankle many Democrats, who argue that it is patriotic and supportive of the troops to call attention to what they believe are deep flaws in President Bush’s Iraq strategy. But the survey itself cannot be dismissed as a partisan attack. The RTs in RT Strategies are Thomas Riehle, a Democrat, and Lance Tarrance, a veteran GOP pollster. Their poll also indicates many Americans are skeptical of Democratic complaints about the war. Just three of 10 adults accept that Democrats are leveling criticism because they believe this will help U.S. efforts in Iraq. A majority believes the motive is really to “gain a partisan political advantage.”

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