Various luminaries in the liberal foreign policy community have been proposing Iraq policies right and left for over three years now. First, that perhaps we should have kept our focus on Afghanistan and stayed out of Iraq altogether. Then, once we were there, liberal thinkers suggested more troops, dialogue with Iran, a multilateral council to accelerate regional investment in Iraq's progress, a variety of counterinsurgency strategies, a variety of partition plans, more serious engagement in Israeli-Palestinian talks (Tony Blair practically begged for this), and on and on. Every single one of these suggestions was ignored.
Would they have made any difference? Who knows. But to blame Democrats now for not being aggressive enough in trying to trisect this angle is like blaming Gerald Ford for losing Vietnam. George Bush fought this war precisely the way he wanted, with precisely the troops he wanted, and with every single penny he asked for. He has kept Don Rumsfeld in charge despite abundant evidence that he doesn't know how to win a war like this. He has mocked liberals and the media at every turn when they suggested we might need a different approach. The result has been a disaster with no evident solution left.
And here's my two cents. Dems aren't trying to avoid the Iraq question. The ones who are saying we should get out sincerely mean it, and the ones who are saying we should stay sincerely mean it. The problem is this administration's stupid pointless war and subsequent keystone cops bungling of the occupation has left our country with no good solutions, and now Igatius is asking Democratic politicians to expound on their brilliant plans for saving Iraq as if they're the ones who started the mess. Here's the deal: the Bush administration has proven repeatedly that it cannot be trusted to fix the mess they've made of Iraq. Their credibility is gone. Democrats have been given no opportunity to contribute their ideas on how to fix the mess the Bush administration has made of Iraq. So it sounds only fair to me that we should give Democrats the benefit of the doubt by virtue of the fact that they have not jacked up Iraq, elect Democrats to power, and then maybe we can critique them on their ideas for how to fix things. What do you think?