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WSJ Editor on Bush’s Iraq Strategy: ‘I Don’t Think He Has To Adjust’

By Judd Legum

"WSJ Editor on Bush’s Iraq Strategy: ‘I Don’t Think He Has To Adjust’"

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This morning on Fox News Sunday, Wall Street Journal editor Paul Gigot brushed aside notions that the deteriorating situation in Iraq warranted a change in strategy from President Bush. Gigot said, “I don’t think he has to adjust” or “announce some new grand strategy.”

The key to success in Iraq, according to Gigot, is for the President to show “resolve” and wrap “his arms around [Iraqi Prime Minister] Maliki.” Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2006/12/wsj.320.240.flv]

Gigot, one of the primary media cheerleaders for the war in Iraq, finds himself increasingly isolated. Even outgoing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged in a recent memo that “it is time for a major adjustment” of U.S. policy in Iraq.

Transcript:

WALLACE: I mean, let me ask you about that, Paul, because I mean, the fact is even Rumsfeld, who we thought of as being one of the stronger advocates of stay the course, is now on record as saying we’ve got to do something, we need a major adjustment.

You’ve got the Iraq study group. You’ve got the election, which certainly sent a message. The public — and we saw this from Lindsey Graham, Republican, as well as Joe Biden, Democrat — is losing patience with the way forward in Iraq.

At least by the State of the Union next month, doesn’t the president have to announce some major change — I’m not sure what direction, but doesn’t he have to announce a major change in policy?

GIGOT: I don’t think he has to adjust — announce a major change. He has to announce that we need to work with Maliki, we need to keep working hard to get the American commitment, not pulling out.

I think the big problem with the Baker report is that it sent a message that we are going to consider precipitous withdrawal, and I think that’s undermined Maliki. It’s undermined the confidence that he has in our staying power.

I think the president’s — unlike Juan, I think the president’s commitment of resolve this week in saying — wrapping his arms around Maliki and saying we’re going to be there with you is very important, because that’s the only way that we can, I think, get him to make the very difficult decisions that he has to make, whether it be taking on the insurgency or disarming the Shiite militias.

So I don’t think he has to announce some new grand strategy. The details in the Baker report suggest that there is no new grand strategy to be had. If there were some Hail Mary pass, some great ideas to be had, somebody would have thought of them before. Those ideas just don’t exist, and that’s why this is incremental.

‹ ‘Lamest of lame-duck sessions.’

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