Democrats signaled on Friday that they don't see much hope in ending the Iraq war this year so long as President Bush insists U.S. troops remain committed there in large numbers.
But party leaders wrote to Bush on Friday anyhow, telling him it's not too late to change course and pleading with him not to leave the war for the next president to handle.
"We are deeply concerned that you and the congressional Republican leadership are intent on staying the current course throughout your administration and then handing the Iraq war off to future presidents," the Democrats wrote.
They have a much better plan than the one the military has been floundering under.
Democrats are engaged in a full-court press against Bush's Iraq policy in advance of next week's testimony by Gen. David Petraeus, the top military commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador there. Petraeus and Crocker are expected to say the recent buildup in troops has succeeded in improving security. But, they also will say that a period of assessment is needed this summer before officials can decide whether troop withdrawals can continue.
Democrats called this approach unacceptable and said they would pursue an alternative policy through legislation. They said their focus will be on restoring the strength of the Army and Marines and refocusing the nation's resources on fighting terrorists in Afghanistan.
The Democrats propose a strategy that is brilliant on two levels. First, consistent with their own experience as legislators, they have hit on the simple idea that we can end the conflict in Iraq simply by picking up all of our marbles and going home. The Bush Administration, the Maliki government in Iraq, and most Republicans are mired in the paradigm that leaving a battlefield during a war means that the enemy wins, dismissing the Democrats' bold and innovative reframing of that tactic and deriding it as "retreat," "surrender," or even "defeat." But the Democrats understand that we wouldn't be surrendering or losing, provided they don't ask the enemy for any input into the decision. By focusing solely on President Bush, they can't be accused of offering the enemy anything.
They take their strategic brilliance to a new and higher plane by redefining America's mission as going after the terrorists in Afghanistan. Once the U.S. has fully withdrawn its forces from Iraq, the terrorists now in Afghanistan will face little opposition in relocating to Iraq. Thus, Afghanistan will be free of terrorists and the Democrats will be able to claim success for their strategy. Of course, the terrorists will quickly assume control of Iraq, its oilfields, and their vast revenues, but the Democrats will be able to blame that on the Bush Administration's failure to fulfill a flawed mission in Iraq.
With such brilliant thinking on display, it's no wonder the Democrat Party is now enjoying the exquisite agony of choosing between the two Smartest People In The World(tm) for its Presidential candidate. But really, with those two on tap to become the next President, why worry about whether one or the other inherits the Iraq war? It's a cinch that either one of them could solve it as one of their six impossible thoughts before breakfast on Inauguration Day.