And if the Iraqi’s don’t step up?

Bush's speech and commentary coming from the White House and its supporters has emphasized the point that we are calling on the Iraqis to really step up in this “new strategy.”  Everything I have read suggests that the Iraqis will be both unwilling and unable to meet their responsibilities as the Bush administration sees them.  So, what happens when the Iraqis don't step up?  A few friends of mine think that Bush is setting things up for an exit strategy, (“see, we gave them a chance and they couldn't handle it, so we're getting out of here.”)  I wish this were the case, but I really do not think so.  Nothing Bush has said or done for the past 4 years gives the least indication that he will be willing for the military to leave on anything but his terms of victory– even as those terms become ever more unlikely.  Bush has argued that it will basically be a disaster and the whole Middle East will blow up if we withdraw before achieving “victory.”  What about this argument will change just because the Iraqis fail to step up?  Bush had his chance to withdraw with cover due to the Iraq Study Group report and he didn't take it.  We are in Iraq full-scale, and with seemingly ever-diminishing chance of real success as long as Bush is president.   

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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