Everyone knows what President Bush meant when he said “stay the course” — that we would stay in Iraq until the mission was complete. Everyone knows that is still the course the President is following. What was wrong with the “stay the course” phrase is that it was an insufficient soundbite. It did not explain that the tactics used on the ground in Iraq were not static, but have always been changing, and continue to be changed and adapted as necessary. Most would say they have not always been changed quickly enough, or that some strategies have not been successful, but anyone who is honest, and knows the facts, knows that the military has adapted time and time again in Iraq.
I say “everyone knows” what “stay the course” meant, but unfortunately everyone has not been honest about it. Some, no many, have used the phrase to mislead voters into thinking that there was only one plan put in place three years ago for Iraq and that, in spite of what we have encountered on the ground there, not one aspect of that plan has changed. Those in the military certainly know better.
The Ugly American wrote an excellent post on the subject of “staying the course” in Iraq asking “What is the alternative?” He shares some discussions he has had with an Iraqi friend and they are very interesting. Read it all.
Update: Democrats are just too darned predictable. President Bush says he isn’t going to say “stay the course” anymore because it does not accurately convey what we have been and are continuing to do in Iraq. He isn’t saying we are changing the goal, or even the overall strategy in any real way, but rather that we are continually changing methods to achieve that goal, as we have been doing all along. I think it is kinda dumb to announce that you are no longer going to say “stay the course” if you aren’t really doing anything significantly different. Why not just stop saying it?
But now to the predictable as the sun rising in the morning, sky is blue, grass is green Democrats who are accusing Bush of being a flip-flopper. Hill. Air. E. Us. Dems have been screaming for not just months, but years, for Bush to abandon his mission in Iraq and have ridiculed him for saying he is staying the course. Then when they say he is no longer staying the course (which as I explain above is not really the case anyway) they call him a flip-flopper. You can’t win with Democrats — that is why it is incredibly stupid to try. Don’t play word games, just do what you think is right. Democrats will blame you for everything that goes wrong, and ignore everything that goes right and no new set of words will change that — that is just the way of the world today.
(And yes, I do realize that words are important, but where Democrats are concerned, it doesn’t really matter what Republicans say. Their script never changes.)
Update II: The commenters here often say things much better (and more concisely) than I do. I really liked this comment from Justrand:
…”Stay the course” turned out to be too complicated for the Leftists.
“stay the course” is actually just a variation of “HOLD FAST!”
But Leftists have NO IDEA how to do that!! (at least not in the face of the enemy!)
I’m actually glad the Prez is going to spell it out now: “We are going to succeed in stabilizing Iraq politically, and in killing the dumb sumbitches who are in country trying to kill us!!”
THAT is “the course”.