Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Next Disillusionment?

The Moose contemplate a potential conservative rift with the Bushies over the war.

The right is in a deep funk. Their Right Man has let them down on a number of fronts - from his big government ways to the dismay over the Miers pick. Each day seems to bring another Kronstadt. Perhaps the most significant division is on the horizon.

W.'s remaining strength is his role as Commander in Chief. Indeed, many of the past differences that the right has had with the Administration have been suppressed over their satisfaction with the way he has pursued the war on terror. That is probably why the President delivered the speech last week on the war - to remind his spurned lovers of the past romance.

It was a fine speech. That Mike Gerson is quite a wordsmith. The President even boldly named the enemy - Islamo-fascism. It was long overdue to name our foe specifically and directly rather than the amorphous "war on terror." Bully for him.

Yet, the address failed to rekindle the romance. That may be because the war is not going to well. It is suddenly dawning on many on the right that W. might not have executed this war too well. Larry Kaplan ably dissected the problem,

"Suicide bombings, U.S. casualties, political mayhem--no amount of speechifying can wish away the nightly news. If the administration really intends to persuade Americans that the war can be won, it would have to make some progress toward actually winning the war. That would mean bolstering rather than cutting troop levels in Iraq, and substantially expanding the army's ranks. It would mean overhauling tactics on the ground, moving away from big-unit sweeps and toward a viable counter-insurgency strategy. It would mean not rushing headlong into a constitutional crisis or otherwise devising fig-leaves for a U.S. withdrawal. It would mean mobilizing national power on a scale not even contemplated by the administration. Yes, the president delivered a fine and necessary speech yesterday. But no war was ever won by spin alone."

It is dawning on many conservatives that perhaps W. is ill-equipped to direct this grand experiment. He was incapable of asking the right questions and over-ruling his minions. He did not commit sufficient troops. His Administration chose tax cuts over enlarging the military. W. failed to comprehend the danger of not securing Iraq immediately after the invasion. And now we are paying the price.

Is W. making America a hapless giant? We seem incapable of shutting down the Syrian border as jihadists infiltrate to commit terrorist acts in Iraq. And what will the Bushies do if Iran gets the bomb? They failed to enlarge the military and now America's options are limited.

And now scandal threatens to enter the West Wing. If this Administration faces a Watergate-style scandal, it could have disastrous foreign policy ramifications just as that previous crisis did. Once the right awakens to the notion that the Bushies have weakened rather than strengthened America's defenses, the divorce will be complete.

If that happens, even Dr. Phil cannot save this marriage.
-- Posted at 8:05 AM | Link to this post | Email this post