Mr. Kennedy praised the “pride and valor” of American troops and said he and other critics would always support them. But he recalled the American agony of Vietnam four decades ago, asserting that Iraq could become another “quagmire.”
“Listen to this comment from a high-ranking American official,” Mr. Kennedy said, recalling a commitment to “help to lay the cornerstone for a diverse and independent Asia” and to “stay the course.”
“This is not President Bush speaking,” Mr. Kennedy said. “It is President Lyndon Johnson, 40 years ago, ordering a hundred thousand more American soldiers to Vietnam.”
Mr. Kennedy has introduced legislation to specify that no more troops be sent to Iraq, and that no additional dollars be spent on such an escalation, “unless and until Congress approves the president’s plan.”
Mr. Kennedy said the right course is obvious. “The American people sent a clear message in November that we must change course in Iraq and begin to withdraw our troops, not escalate their presence,” he said. “An escalation, whether it is called a surge or any other name, is still an escalation, and I believe it would be an immense new mistake.”Oh, and there's this little inconvenient fact about lack of public support for the escalation:
A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday shows a daunting sales job ahead for the White House, which is considering a plan to deploy up to 20,000 additional U.S. troops to Iraq.Josh Marshall is skeptical based on the track record of Bush in Iraq:
Those surveyed oppose the idea of increased troop levels by 61%-36%. Approval of the job Bush is doing in Iraq has sunk to 26%, a record low.
But going back now some four years, who can point to even a single Bush administration decision in Iraq, either strategic or tactical, that didn't turn out to be either a bad idea or a complete disaster? Anything? One good call?Good question...
When the president goes before the people on Wednesday, he is basically saying, trust me.
It's never really possible to know what the future will bring, especially for most of us who may have gut level instincts about military strategy but little detailed operational knowledge. But given the track record and the fact that few people outside the White House seem to think this is a good idea, what possible basis is there to put any trust in Bush's latest gambit?