If President Bush had any lingering doubts about how the new Democrat-controlled Congress would react to the idea of surging thousands of additional troops into Iraq, the incoming Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, my friend Ike Skelton of Missouri, cleared those up for him this week.
On Monday, following the swearing-in of Robert Gates as the new Defense Secretary, he said:
"The recent speculation in the press regarding an increase of 20,000 to 30,000 or even 50,000 troops in Iraq has left me with many concerns. Everything I've heard and everything I know to be true lead me to believe that this increase at best won't change a thing, and at worst could exacerbate the situation even further. I am also extremely concerned about the additional burden that would be placed on the Army and Marine Corps."
Ike's right. The White House's Iraq strategy has failed, our brave military is stretched to the breaking point, and neither Congress nor the American people will support for much longer throwing good money after bad or sending good people after good people into a hopeless war zone.
Rather than talk about additional troops, it's time to begin redeploying troops out of Iraq immediately and engaging other governments and allies in crafting a diplomatic and political solution to the nightmare. That this administration could still think an escalated military option is a credible path to stability and democracy in Iraq is alarming, and indicative of how far removed from reality this president and his inner circle are.
If you've seen Sacha Baron Cohen's hysterical film about the hapless journalist Borat, a character with his own tenuous grip on reality, you probably recall the scene where he attempts to learn a dated American "Not" joke ("This suit is NOT black!" - "This suit is black...NOT!").
Well, I have a message for this President, and it's not a joke: Mr. Bush, send more troops to Iraq...NOT!