Enter the Council on Foreign Relations.
Ever heard of that? A time or two, maybe?
Faced with a chorus of demands to lay out an “exit strategy” for Iraq, President Bush countered with a condition: “complete victory.” This enraged his critics—for instance, the New York Times’ lead editorial Thursday is headed, “Plan: We Win.” Yet his Naval Academy speech, for the first time, set forth some conditions that might trigger the beginnings of a draw down and gave details in a a 35-page report on how U.S. forces plan to get there. Both the speech and the strategy document amount to a “watershed moment” in the Iraq debate, says CFR’s Lee Feinstein in an interview with cfr.org’s Bernard Gwertzman.
The speech emboldened supporters of his Iraq policies, including CFR Fellow Max Boot, who bemoaned “White Flag Democrats.” The Wall Street Journal seconded his motion. Still, less partisan voices, including military experts interviewed in this CFR Background Q&A, point out winning the domestic debate is not the same thing as shoring up support in Congress. Iraq’s unpredictable Shiite militias are a major variable, according to this CFR Background Q&A. Lawmakers on both sides know, as Washington Post political columnist Daniel Froomkim points out, there is a crucial midterm U.S. election coming. Nor is there evidence yet the president’s words have swayed an increasingly skeptical public. Early returns, provided by this CNN poll,
suggest that winning back hearts an minds in America may be as challenging as it has proved in Iraq.
I'm not vain enough to imagine anything I have to add will have any meaning here.
Most readers are clever enough to read and grasp what this says.