Bill Kristol and Rich Lowry team up in today’s Washington Post:
The bottom line is this: More U.S. troops in Iraq would improve our chances of winning a decisive battle at a decisive moment. This means the ability to succeed in Iraq is, to some significant degree, within our control. The president should therefore order a substantial surge in overall troop levels in Iraq, with the additional forces focused on securing Baghdad. . . .
Administration spokesmen have jettisoned talk of “staying the course” in Iraq in favor of “adapting to win.” If those words are to have meaning, the administration can’t simply stay the course on current troop levels. We need to adapt to win the battle of Baghdad. We need substantially more troops in Iraq. Sending them would be a courageous act of presidential leadership appropriate to the crisis we face.
Thrilling, thrilling stuff. Now, as I recall, twelve months ago it was September 2005. And twelve months before that it was September 2004. And four months earlier still, it was May 2004, when Kristol editorialized “It is true that the mistakes of the past year have had a dispiriting cumulative effect. It is true that it is harder to recover now than it would have been a year ago. But we can’t win if we don’t apply ourselves anew to trying to win.” His solution: “The president orders Secretary Rumsfeld to send 50,000 more troops to Iraq to win the war. He also orders the secretary of defense to submit a plan to increase the overall size of our armed forces so that it is sufficient for the tasks ahead in the global war on terror.” Somehow nothing that’s happened over the past 28 months is in any way relevant to the assessment of the situation. America is perpetually on the brink, Bush is perpetually in need of enhanced seriousness about victory, and more troops are perpetually the answer.
Note also Kristol’s April 24, 2006 call for “serious preparation for possible military action” against Iran, which “would be easier if the situation in Iraq improved–which implies an urgent push to make progress there, with the deployment of more troops if necessary.” But if more troops go to Iraq, who’s going to fight Iran? Even more troops: “Planning for action in Iran would be somewhat easier if the president finally insisted on a far-too-long-delayed increase in the size of the military.”
I was going to call this the hawkery of fools, but really knaves is more like it. The wars are all going to be easy before we launch them, and the folks raising piddling questions should be dismissed. When the wars don’t work out, it’s always because we’ve been insufficiently warlike. When the wars produce broader strategic problems, we need more wars. And, of course, more troops. Always more troops.