One thing to look for over the coming week or so is for announcements of troop reductions to be met with the claim that those reductions are a result of John Kerry/John Murtha’s calls to cut-and-run. The very idea is ridiculous and dishonest, which means it is likely that someone will pick it up and run with it. (It has already been floated in several comments here over the past week.) Not only is it wrong that future troop reductions in Iraq are due to any pressure from Democrats, I believe many of the Democrats’ calls for troop withdrawal were made in anticipation of the reductions President Bush spoke of a year or so ago. Here is what I wrote about John Murtha’s cut-and-run strategy on November 17, 2005:
Here is my take on this strategy. The more I think about it, the more I believe this is just a way to diminish any political goodwill that will accrue to the Bush administration when troops do begin leaving Iraq. I think the same can be said for the timetable Democrats wanted to impose in the Congress. With upcoming elections and the trial of Saddam, and more and more Iraqi troops and police being trained daily, it is likely, and I think the President has even stated, that the American military presence will start being scaled back within the next 6 – 12 months. When that happens, Democrats will try to claim it was the pressure they exerted that caused it. We all know that is what the President has said all along – that we will leave when the Iraqis no longer need us there. The public, however, has heard a constant drumbeat from Democrats and the media that there is no exit strategy. This war has become the Democrats’ best hope for 2006 and they are going to do whatever it takes to get the maximum advantage from it.
Since everything that happens in Iraq is eventually spun by Democrats to support their belief that George Bush is a liar and that Iraq is a disaster, I think it is time for those on the left to tell us exactly what success in Iraq would look like. Stop moving those goalposts. Tell us all where they stand and plant them there.
Granddaddy Long Legs has a post on a broader version of this topic that should be bookmarked. In it he asks, “What if Bush didn’t lie?” I know, there are some liberal heads that might just explode, but what Granddaddy did was wonder what, if anything, it would take to convince those diplaying “Bush Lied” bumper stickers that they were wrong and that Bush had been telling the truth. He then went through some of the “Bush lied” claims and provided evidence to debunk them. He has updated the post several times over the past few months as new information comes to light. His goal is clear:
As the rationales behind the Bush Lied! mantra are shot down, one by one, there must come a point where logic insists that the absence of any proof that Bush lied means accepting that Bush might not have lied at all.
I’m not suggesting that all of these people should become Bush supporters or even Republicans, but rather that they merely drop the Bush Lied! refrain due to intellectual embarrassment.
Critics of the Bush Administration constantly complain that he and his supporters always “move the goalposts” on every issue. So to help them avoid being hypocritical, I would like to propose that they set their own goalposts firmly in place regarding the Bush Lied! claim.
This can be done easily:
1. Specifically explain what Bush lied about.
2. If those accusations are disproved, then the facts must be accepted and the mantra renounced.I am not even going as far as that. I am just asking liberals to set the goalposts for measuring success in Iraq. I know they will never admit that Bush didn’t lie. There is just too much tied up in that claim.
UPDATE: Sara said in the comments section that the storyline Democrats are peddling is not going to be that pressure from Murtha or Kerry triggered troop reductions, but that they are a result of politics, just in time for the November elections. I missed the Sunday morning shows today, but caught a clip of Carl Levin making such a claim. So, the Bush administration reducing troop levels prior to the end of this year is playing politics, but when John Murtha and John Kerry were calling for troop withdrawals in a similar time frame that is not political? Isn’t it funny how that works? See why I am practically begging for those goalposts to stop moving?
UPDATE II: President Bush made some remarks about how decisions on troop strength in Iraq will be made and he again defined success in Iraq:
THE PRESIDENT: “First of all, I did meet with General Casey, and I met with him because it’s very important for me, as well as Secretary Rumsfeld, to meet with our commander on the ground. I’ve told the American people our commanders will be making the decisions as to how to achieve victory, and General Casey, of course, is the lead person. So we had a good visit with him.
“And we talked about a lot of things. The first thing we talked about was the joint operations with the Iraqi forces to secure Baghdad and how that’s going. We talked about the actions we’re taking in Ramadi. The coalition is in the lead in Ramadi, and we’re trying to make sure Ramadi does not become a safe haven for al Qaeda. And so he explained to me the tactics on the ground, what we’re doing to secure that city and to run the al Qaeda-types out.
“We talked about the Iraqi training mission. And as you well know, our standards are, as Iraqis stand up, the coalition will be able to stand down. We talked about that kind of progress.
“But in terms of our troop presence there, that decision will be made by General Casey, as well as the sovereign government of Iraq, based upon conditions on the ground. And one of the things that General Casey assured me of is that, whatever recommendation he makes, it will be aimed toward achieving victory. And that’s what we want. And victory means a free government that is able to sustain itself, defend itself; it’s a government that will be an ally in the war on terror. It’s a government that will be able to fight off al Qaeda and its desires to have a safe haven.
“And so I did visit with General Casey, and I came away once again with my trust in that man. I’ve told the people here around the table that the decisions that I will make will be based upon the recommendations of people like General George Casey.”