Thursday, January 11, 2007

Risky Business for All

President Bush unveiled his plan to send 21,500 additional troops to Iraq last night, taking a risk he can turn it around.

His platform was clear -- withdrawing from Iraq and allowing it to continue to devolve into disaster would be an unacceptable failure, one that would surely embolden the terrorists.

And his plan is straightforward -- quell the insurgency and hold the Iraqi government accountable for its progress.

Politically speaking, this is his last chance to get it right -- if allied forces don't crush Al Qaida and sectarian militias swiftly and definitively, the GOP will be the losers in the next presidential election.

The Democrats have problems of their own however. They've squawked about the additional troops and made noises about blocking funding, but they don't dare. That would make them look like don't support our troops.

They also failed to provide an alternative plan -- apparently they haven't figured how to run away and abandon our allies without looking like cowards.

"Don't flap your arms so much. And don't run with your knees up so high. And for the love of gravy, stop shrieking!"

So if the president succeeds, the Dems are the losers in 2008.

If they block the extra troops and he fails, everyone gets the stink on them, and 2008 is a foodfight.

The America public may be tired with the war and impatient with the situation. But the one thing they won't tolerate is failure.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Iraq by the numbers

Reuters noting that the number of American troops killed in Iraq has now passed 3,000.

It won't be long before the anti-war crowd will be pimping this figure as further proof that Iraq is a catastrophe, spiraling out of control and destined to failure.

But it's not necessarily so. The Iraq conflict actually has the lowest casualty rate of any war in U.S. history. And while Reuters says December was the deadliest month in the war, American combat deaths have declined every year since the invasion.

Consider also:
-- During WWII, we lost 3,000 soldiers on D-Day alone;

-- Three times that many were killed at Gettysburg during the Civil War;

-- Ten times as many American troops had been killed by this time in the Vietnam War (the original "quagmire" -- and a Liberal adventure, incidentally) .

I hate to boil it down to a simple comparison of numbers -- it seems so callous and cold. It is a tragedy every time an American soldier is killed. But if the anti-war guys are going to use the numbers for their purposes, someone has to put them in perspective.

There is no question the situation in Iraq is very bad, could get worse, and may ultimately lead to defeat. But the casualty rate is not one of those proof points.