Bi­den’s dog and pony show

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

Any­one who doubts that McGovernism re­mains alive and well in the Demo­cratic Party lead­er­ship hasn’t been lis­ten­ing to the con­temp­tu­ous re­ac­tion to the idea of send­ing more troops to Iraq. Sen. Joseph Bi­den, the in­com­ing chair­man of the For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee, is weigh­ing whether to seek the pres­i­dency, and the party ac­tivists whose sup­port he needs to win in places like Iowa and New Hamp­shire want us out of Iraq re­gard­less of the con­se­quences. Judg­ing from the com­ments he made Dec. 26 about the hear­ings he plans on the Iraq war this month, Mr. Bi­den sounds like some­one pre­par­ing to pan­der to such peo­ple. He ac­cuses the United States of “al­ready break[ing] Iraq,” and says his hear­ings, which will be­gin Jan. 9 and run three to four days a week for an un­spec­i­fied pe­riod of time, will in­clude dis­cus­sions with Iraq’s neigh­bors (i.e. Iran and Syria).

Mr. Bi­den says he may call Jim Baker and Lee Hamil­ton, co-chair­men of the Iraq Study Group, who we can ex­pect to dis­miss the idea of in­creas­ing troop

The real goal be­hind this month’s dog and pony show is

to raise enough of a ruckus to force the pres­i­dent to agree

to some sort of phony com­pro­mise “surge” of a small

num­ber of Amer­i­can troops for a few months [. . .]

strength in Iraq. It isn’t clear whether Mr. Bi­den plans to give thought­ful ad­vo­cates of the idea, in­clud­ing Gen. John Keane or Fred­er­ick Ka­gan of the Amer­i­can En­ter­prise In­sti­tute, a chance to make the case. We sus­pect Mr. Bi­den will lis­ten to a pa­rade of wit­nesses who agree with him and the rest of the Demo­cratic Party lead­er­ship, say­ing that we have too many troops in Iraq right now; that we can­not pos­si­bly de­feat the ter­ror­ists there; that we should in­stead be work­ing for a “po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion”; and that we need to is­sue more ul­ti­ma­tums — not to the ter­ror­ists, but to the elected Iraqi gov­ern­ment.

Mr. Bi­den ac­knowl­edges that it will be dif­fi­cult for mem­bers of Congress to force Pres­i­dent Bush to abruptly leave Iraq, and we sus­pect that he is right and that many mem­bers of his own party would be re­luc­tant to take such an ir­re­spon­si­ble step. The real goal be­hind this month’s dog and pony show is to raise enough of a ruckus to force the pres­i­dent to agree to some sort of phony com­pro­mise “surge” of a small num­ber of Amer­i­can troops for a few months — just enough time to as­sure that lit­tle is ac­com­plished mil­i­tar­ily, while the sen­a­tor and his po­lit­i­cal al­lies can claim to their friends in the me­dia that the Keane/Ka­gan plan has been tried and has “failed,” and that the only al­ter­na­tive is to cut a deal with Tehran, Da­m­as­cus and the Iraqi ji­hadists. Pres­i­dent Bush and re­spon­si­ble law­mak­ers of both par­ties should be pre­pared to fight hard to pre­vent this from hap­pen­ing.

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