Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Surge

The Washington Post reports that the Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously oppose the idea of "surging" 15-30 thousand troops into Iraq in a last ditch effort to stabilize the country. Why? Because they think the White House is just casting around for plausible-sounding ideas and has no real plan for how to use the additional soldiers:

The Joint Chiefs think the White House, after a month of talks, still does not have a defined mission and is latching on to the surge idea in part because of limited alternatives, despite warnings about the potential disadvantages for the military.

....The Pentagon has cautioned that a modest surge could lead to more attacks by al-Qaeda, provide more targets for Sunni insurgents and fuel the jihadist appeal for more foreign fighters to flock to Iraq to attack U.S. troops, the officials said.

....Even the announcement of a time frame and mission -- such as for six months to try to secure volatile Baghdad -- could play to armed factions by allowing them to game out the new U.S. strategy, the chiefs have warned the White House.

If the Chiefs stand their ground, it will be very difficult for Bush to buck them. But if he gives up on the surge, what possible alternative can he offer that even remotely seems like a serious change of direction? Rock, meet hard place.

(I stole the entire post from Kevin Drum)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

An understatement

In what might be the understatement of the new century, Jon Cohen writing in this morning's WaPo observes,
Negative assessments of the war in Iraq... Continue to hold down President Bush's job approval ratings and could cast a pall on the final two years of his presidency.

Ya think?

The new WaPo poll, of which Jon writes, is consistent with other recent polls. 70% of Americans disapprove of the way the president is handling the war and 60% (the highest ever) do not believe the war is worth fighting.

Bush's approval rating in the poll is 36%, which is only the second lowest it has ever been in the ABC/WaPo poll. That surprises me.

What I'm wondering is just how low his approval rating will actually go? I think Nixon's lowest was between 25 to 23%. It's hard to imagine any president going below that figure, but Bush might do it, for all the reasons I set out below.

What do you think? How low will he go?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Historic Times

As students of politics the next two years are going to be fascinating. Bush is never good under pressure and in the wake of the ISG Report Bush is completely floundering, and he has nothing to buoy him anymore. Bush never really stands on his own so much as he attacks others instead, but that dog won’t hunt anymore.

The Congressional Republicans are literally rats fleeing the sinking ship. And although this started before the election, it is now like a tidal wave with the ISG Report for cover. Bush’s people will come out with their self-serving reports that will meet with bipartisan scorn and only make the situation worse for Bush with him desperately clinging to that nonsense while Baghdad burns.

He and Cheney are completely alone now. We are going to see approval polls in Nixon territory probably by Feb. We are looking at historic lows and how will the DC world react?

I look for the White House to be surrounded by sandbags and barbed wire by spring with Bush and Cheney holed up inside like Howard Hughes.

When have we ever seen anything like this?

It’s like the proverbial car crash. I know I shouldn’t stare, but I can’t look away.