I just got an e-mail from John Kerry's people asking me to sign an petition to bring 20,000 troops home by Christmas.
I have no idea why Kerry thinks 20,000 is the right number to bring home, or what strategic or tactical significance Christmas plays into it.
This is the same John Kerry who back in May of 2004 promised that if elected he would increase troop strength in Iraq by 40,000.
What do you reckon made him change his mind?
In his petition, Kerry also calls for a withdrawal time table that will "withdraw the bulk of American combat forces by the end of 2006."
Well, Mister Bush isn't going to go along with that, even though you can bet a paycheck that the bulk of the troops will be home by the end of 2006 because the Army's going to run out of poop before then. Mister Bush may or may not actually know that, but in either case, he's not going to come out and say it.
The bulk of the troops will be home by the end of next summer in plenty of time for the 2006, and Karl--whether he's in or out of jail--will cook up some face saving explanation his boss can give the nation. When Mister Bush gives the speech, it will be heavily spiced with favored catch terms like "victory," "sacrifice," and "9/11… 9/11… 9/11…"
My favorite Cabinet member Don Rumsfeld said Tuesday he may put more troops in Iraq temporarily to cover the country's general election. On the surface, I'd say that's a sound idea. But I'm uncertain what kinds of troops those will be. The U.S. Army typically operates at a fairly high tooth-to-tail ratio. This means that for every "trigger puller" that deploys to a theater of war, seven or eight support types (cooks, truck drivers, docs, etc.) have to go along with them.
With no clear forward lines and no safe rear areas (which you don't generally have in insurgency warfare), the trigger pullers can wind up focusing all their efforts on protecting the cooks, truck drivers, and docs. So at some point, all you do by sending more troops into a theater is create more targets for the bad guys.
And when you're doing that, militarily, you've completely lost the initiative.
In fact, you've pretty much lost the war.
You can call this "defeatist thinking" or "facing reality," but America needs to wake up to the fact that there is no "good" way out of the Iraq quagmire.
The time for sending more troops to Iraq was more than two years ago. If we doubled or even tripled our troop strength there (which we couldn't, but I'm just saying), we wouldn't have enough troops in country to protect Iraqi civilians--and the troops we send along to support the troops--from Iraqi insurgents.
Mister Bush yodeling about "stay the course" and calling those al Qaeda people bad names isn't going to accomplish much either.
Speaking of Mister Bush:
Down in Argentina, he dodged questions from the press about how he plans to regain credibility with the American public.
"The way you earn credibility with the American people is to set a clear agenda that everybody can understand, an agenda that relates to their lives, and get the job done," he said. "And the agenda that I'm working on now is one that is important to the American people."
And speaking of incredible…
On Tuesday Rummy also referred to the hunger strike of the prisoners at Guantanamo as "a successful ploy to attract media attention."
So the hunger strike is the media's fault.
What will those wily Guantanamo prisoners do to attract media attention next? Visit New Orleans? Give a scary speech about bird flu?
The real challenge to America, in my view, is not so much how we get out of Iraq, but how as a nation we're going to regain the image and credibility that Mister Bush and his sidemen have so utterly demolished.