This Bush Pledge Is Not "Quite Clear"

Monday, July 25, 2005

This Bush Pledge Is Not "Quite Clear"

I just posted excerpts of a letter written by Hoover Institution fellow Larry Diamond. Diamond is engaging in a debate over the Iraqi quagmire with Dan Senor, who was a senior adviser to Paul Bremer.

Diamond closed by asking Senor:
What are we in Iraq for: to build democracy — which requires not only freedom but order, and thus a dramatic reduction of this violence — or to secure the long-term projection of American military power from Iraqi soil, which most Iraqis will not accept?
Now, excerpts of Senor's response:

We agree that it's important to counter any misperception that the United States has desires for a permanent or even long-term military presence in Iraq.

Indeed, President Bush was quite clear on this in his June 28 address to the nation: "I recognize that Americans want our troops to come home as quickly as possible. So do I. ... We will stay in Iraq as long as we are needed, and not a day longer."
It's silly for Senor to call that "quite clear" when it is nothing of the kind. The context for Bush's "not a day longer" remark is the thousands of troops who are actively policing the cities and streets of Iraq.

Such a statement by Bush does not dismiss the possibility that the Pentagon might use military bases in Iraq to establish a long-term presence in the country.

Then, Senor mischaracterizes Diamond's support for a "time frame" for U.S. troop withdrawal. In doing so, Senor engages in some hyperbolic analysis:
... I do not believe that if we made even more declarations about troop presence the violence would suddenly slow down.
No one's suggesting that a time frame causes the violence to "suddenly slow down." But, by taking one of the insurgency's best recruiting arguments off the table — evil America wants to create a permanent base in our homeland — it might begin to lessen the violence, and over time that might be just enough for a sense of order to prevail.

Besides, does Senor have any better proposal -- that is, other than the bold and glorious "stay the course" rhetoric?

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