Wednesday, January 10, 2007

"Surge" Plan Appears Directed At Democrats

Unless I miss my guess, the 11,000 troops now, and 11,000 troops in a few months plan that President Bush is rumored to be announcing tonight is designed in part to goad congressional Democrats into placing restrictions on the White House's ability to conduct the war as it sees fit.

Analysts are nearly universally skeptical about the military efficacy of the administration's "surge" concept. The White House knows this. They are using the questionable plan for a "surge" to draw out the enemy -- the Democrats -- so that they can be blamed for the loss of the war in Iraq.

Domestic politics is often the driver of international affairs, and seems to be so in this case.

President Bush gravely warned House Democrats yesterday that America's credibility would be shattered if the United States pulled its troops from Iraq, forcing close ally Saudi Arabia to look elsewhere for protection and potentially destabilizing Egypt, the region's most populous country, according to participants in the meeting. ...

Bush did not say during the half-hour meeting with Democrats where else he thought Saudi Arabia would seek "protection," but he made it clear that he was simply informing Democrats of his decisions on Iraq, not consulting with them. He said that he understands the challenges and thinks his plan has the best chance of success. ...

The House Democrats included Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (Mo.), intelligence committee Chairman Sylvestre Reyes (Tex.), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos (Calif.), Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Dingell (Mich.), Rep. Norm Dicks (Wash.), Rep. Jane Harman (Calif.) and Rep. Robert E. Andrews (N.J.).

Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten attended the meeting. Tauscher said that Cheney emphasized his concerns about Saudi Arabia.

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