Gates said that commanders in Afghanistan had recommended a troop increase, and he suggested he was inclined to urge Bush to go ahead with it. He mentioned no numbers during the talk with reporters on Wednesday, but a senior official traveling with Gates said it would not be anything close to the 21,500 extra troops Bush is sending to Iraq.
That 21,500 figure was just a number to me until this past Sunday, when one of the Marines in my Bible Study class at church spoke up at prayer-request time. He said his battalion at Camp Pendleton has been tapped for al-Anbar province as part of the President's troop surge. This province is the most violent, terrorist-ridden section of Iraq outside of Baghdad, and our Marines will be heading there at some point in the near future.
It's sobering, and yet I know that nobody is better trained for this work than these men. May God go with them, and may they have the support--real support, not just lip-service, disclaimer support--of the American people when they're there.
But that support isn't likely from the left. For them, everything is about politics. The only time the left uses the words, "winning" and "victory" is when they're talking about elections. The War to Save Civilization from Extremist Muslim Savages? No, no. That can't be won. The best we can hope for is to pull ourselves out of the mess the Bush Administration created. Diplomacy! Negotiations! Bring our troops home!
Jim McCaslin's column in today's Washington Times pointed out a classic case of Flip-Flopping As Politics.
On Dec. 5, Newsweek magazine touted an interview with then-incoming House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Rep. Silvestre Reyes as an "exclusive." And for good reason.
"In a surprise twist in the debate over Iraq," the story began, Mr. Reyes "said he wants to see an increase of 20,000 to 30,000 U.S. troops as part of a 'stepped up effort to dismantle the militias.' "
"We have to consider the need for additional troops to be in Iraq, to take out the militias and stabilize Iraq," the Texas Democrat said to the surprise of many, "I would say 20,000 to 30,000."
Then came President Bush's expected announcement last week, virtually matching Mr. Reyes' recommendation and argument word-for-word -- albeit the president proposed only 21,500 troops.
Wouldn't you know, hours after Mr. Bush announced his proposal, Mr. Reyes told the El Paso Times that such a troop buildup was unthinkable.
"We don't have the capability to escalate even to this minimum level," he said.
This kind of chutzpah is headshake-worthy. But not surprising. And not even new. The Democrats in Congress will say whatever they think will bring President Bush down, even if it helps the terrorists bring their violence back to our shores. Even if it causes more harm to the men and women who are out there fighting to keep those hypocritical, flip-flopping blowhards safe.