It seems to me that the President’s woefully inadequate proposal for “winning” in Iraq is like a band-aid on a severed jugular. And the logic of the “benchmarks” for Iraqis sounds remarkably similar to the vaunted moralisms of the “No Child Left Behind” Act translated into a foreign policy.
The Council on Foreign Relations provides a helpful panel reaction to last night’s speech (though Michael Gerson’s contribution is almost laughable in its deference to the administration). Other contributions, however, are insightful yet balanced. To pick just one snippet, Max Boot notes the following:
Based on classic counterinsurgency calculations (1 soldier or policeman per 40 or 50 civilians), pacifying Baghdad, a city of 6 million people, requires a force of some 150,000. The beefed-up U.S. force in Baghdad still will be less than 40,000 strong.
Gerson, on the other hand, praises a “realistic plan,” and lauds the President for being “unimpressed by the conventional foreign policy wisdom” (!). In this way Gerson extends the fundamental anti-intellectualism of this President, who glories in rejecting the “conventional wisdom” of science as well.