Saturday, January 27, 2007
What A Difference Confirmation Makes
We've got another case of the "Flagging will, happy terrorists" argument, this time from Robert Gates. Here's what he had to say yesterday at a Pentagon news conference about the Congressional resolutions opposing the President's escalation:
“It’s pretty clear that a resolution that in effect says that the general going out to take command of the arena shouldn’t have the resources he thinks he needs to be successful certainly emboldens the enemy and our adversaries...
“I think it’s hard to measure that with any precision, but it seems pretty straightforward that any indication of flagging will in the United States gives encouragement to those folks,” Gates said, referring to the anti-government forces in Baghdad.
Now folks who oppose the war in general and its escalation in particular shouldn't be afraid of this charge, mainly because it's inarguably true, for reasons that I elaborated here. At the same time, I have a hard time believing that the resolution and the gathering opposition to the war that it gives voice to will embolden the enemy any more than the administration's catastrophic management of the war itself already has. For that matter, an argument can be made that the idea of having 20,000 more targets to shoot at, not to mention the satisfaction of knowing they're stretching our military to the breaking point in a damned effort, must give the bad guys some satisfaction too.
And while we're on the subject of boldness, I'd point out that the folks blowing things up in Iraq don't seem any more or less bold to me today than they did a year ago, or two or three or four. As far as I can tell, they're doing the same things now, when most of America wants out, as they were doing back in 2003, when most of America believed we were still going to find nuclear warheads somewhere in Anbar province. Only now, in addition to doing it to us, they're doing it to each other as well.
The President has proposed a plan that most of the country and Congress thinks will make defeat more, rather than less, likely. We'll know soon enough who's right. But if it depends on silencing domestic criticism for success, it's not much of a plan.