07/02/2005: Our Stubborn Gee Dub Yah...
Jonathan Chait (LA Times) has this interesting assessment of Why Bush Won't Send More Troops:
“….In the prelude to the Iraq war, both Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney had reasons to low-ball the needed troops. Rumsfeld was fascinated with transforming the military into a smaller, high-tech force. Cheney believed Iraqis would "greet us as liberators" and therefore needed little armed supervision. Given the cult of personality around Bush, whom conservatives lionized as a fearless Churchillian slayer of terrorists, any deviation was seen as ideological heresy. After Shinseki ventured his opinions on troops, conservative pundit Jed Babbin blasted him as a weak-kneed, politically minded Clintonite who failed to understand that "the very premise of an extended 'occupation' is antithetical to President Bush's policy of liberation." Babbin intended that line as an indictment of Shinseki. In retrospect it's an indictment of Bush.
Bush's continued stubbornness probably derives from a refusal to admit a mistake. If we need more troops now, that implies we needed more troops all along, which means that if the war ends badly, Bush must have made a colossal mistake. It's characteristic of this administration that it would rather reduce the chances of being blamed for a national catastrophe than reduce the chances of the catastrophe happening in the first place.
Karen on 07.02.05 @ 05:34 AM CST