Tuesday, February 12, 2008

When Reality Bites

When Reality Bites
By David Brooks

There’s a big difference between the Republican and Democratic campaigns: The Republicans have split on policy grounds; the Democrats haven’t. There’s been a Republican divide between center and right, yet no Democratic divide between center and left.

But when you think about it, the Democratic policy unity is a mirage. If the Democrats actually win the White House, the tensions would resurface with a vengeance.

The first big rift would involve Iraq. Both Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have seductively hinted that they would withdraw almost all U.S. troops within 12 to 16 months. But if either of them actually did that, he or she would instantly make Iraq the consuming partisan fight of their presidency.

There would be private but powerful opposition from Arab leaders, who would fear a return to 2006 chaos. There would be irate opposition from important sections of the military, who would feel that the U.S. was squandering the gains of the previous year. A Democratic president with few military credentials would confront outraged and highly photogenic colonels screaming betrayal.

There would be important criticism from nonpartisan military experts. In his latest report, the much-cited Anthony Cordesman describes an improving Iraqi security situation that still requires “strategic patience” and another five years to become self-sustaining.

There would be furious opposition from Republicans and many independents. They would argue that you can’t evacuate troops just as Iraqis are about to hold national elections and tensions are at their highest. They would point out that it’s insanity to end local reconstruction and Iraqi training efforts just when they are producing results. They would accuse the new administration of reverse-Rumsfeldism, of ignoring postsurge realities and of imposing an ideological solution on a complex situation.

All dreams of changing the tone in Washington would be gone. All of Obama’s unity hopes would evaporate. And if the situation did deteriorate after a quick withdrawal, as the National Intelligence Estimate warns, the bloodshed would be on the new president’s head.




Anonymous bobcat said...

Heh he he I don't envy the next demonrat president!

6:55 AM  
Anonymous cassie said...

It's a trap of their own making....

12:09 PM  
Blogger VerityINK said...

I DO wonder how the next one is going to solve that dilemma--their base is already super p.o.ed at the Nancys and Harrys who won't impeach, who won't defund the war, who didn't ban telecom immunity for their wiretaps. The rabid Lefties are mad as hell about it all; besides the election, that's all they can talk about.

They want their head fed--and they're going to be mad--and madder--if that doesn't happen.

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Mrs.D. How are ya? sent you an e-mail the other day, hope all is well with you. J'Mac.

3:30 PM  

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