In the Arena

Everyone Sounds Stupid About Iraq

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Even Brent Scowcroft, who was right all along. He tells Stephanopoulos that he might favor more troops in Iraq to stop ethnic cleansing in Baghdad…then says he thinks it’s a bad idea for American troops to try to police a civil war–which means that he’s for and against the same thing. When Stephanopoulos catches him on this, Scowcroft hems, haws and seems genuinely embarrassed. In fact, he’s hemmed in by his loyalty to the old man: he doesn’t want a surge, but doesn’t want to slam dunk Junior, either.
Meanwhile, over on Face the Nation, Nancy Pelosi tries to seem reasonable about Iraq, but then says that Bush should “change the mission” of the U.S. forces to training Iraqis, fighting terrorism, logistics and force protection…Which is exactly what the disastrous Bush policy HAS been for the past two years. I like Pelosi’s new stateswomanlike demeanor, but–like too many Democrats–she simply doesn’t know what she’s talking about when it comes to the military operations in Iraq.
Pelosi’s right, though: it’s too late for a surge. Instead of putting all its brainpower into surging, the military should be focusing on how to get our conventional forces out (and leave our unconventional forces in the neighborhood) in a way that prevents an all-out regional conflict. -Joe Klein