In recent days, a host of Republican Senators have announced their intention to call for a drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq. With only 23 percent of Americans approving of Bush’s handling of Iraq, there are hopeful signs that political pressures are forming conservatives to break ranks with Bush’s Iraq policy. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, however, is catering to the 23-percenters.
This morning on NBC’s Today Show, host Matt Lauer asked Huckabee, if Bush delivers a more pessimistic assessment of the surge this week, “would you feel we owe it to the 150,000 or so Americans serving in Iraq to start pulling them out sooner than later?”
“We have to make a decision — do we either pull them out or do we put whatever is necessary to make sure we don’t leave it in a bigger mess than we started with,” Huckabee answered. “More troops?” Lauer asked. “It’s possible,” said Huckabee. Watch it:
Huckabee dodged the issue completely when Lauer noted that the armed forces are stretched very thin and may not have more troops to provide.
Huckabee fails to grasp that the U.S. occupation is driving the violence on the ground. As war czar Gen. Doug Lute previously noted, in order to reach a political solution, “You have to undercut the perception of occupation in Iraq. It’s very difficult to do that when you have 150,000-plus, largely western, foreign troops occupying the country.” A recent poll found 82 percent of Iraqis said they “lack confidence” in coalition forces, and 69 percent of Iraqis said coalition forces make “the security situation worse.”
UPDATE: Previously, Rudy Giuliani expressed his support for a second escalation.