The strategy, of course, is that as the Iraqi security forces stand up, American forces will be able to stand down, providing not for a precipitous withdrawal, but rather a slow-but-steady drawdown of the US military presence in Iraq as victory is achieved. Except, as Jim Henley notes, our troop strength in Iraq is somehow back up to 150,000, right in the neighborhood of the peak level. It’s almost as if the administration’s strategy for Iraq is a horrible failure, a plan for perpetual war. But that couldn’t be right, could it?
Well, of course it could. After all, “the only defeat is leaving”, according to Bush. Meaning that “winning” just means continuing to do what we’re doing — staying in Iraq — for as long as it takes for us to . . . keep on staying in Iraq.