Thursday, July 03, 2003

Despite Threats, Some Dare To Talk Back To Travis Bickle

Dr. Dean didn't waste any time; his best line:

President Bush should focus on encouraging the keeping of the peace, since that is now our mission.”

Here's a Reuter's compendium:

Bush Taking Heat for 'Bring Them On' Remark

Another Democratic presidential candidate, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, said condemned the comment, saying, "The deteriorating situation in Iraq requires less swagger and more thoughtfulness and statesmanship."

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer dismissed the criticism and said Bush viewed his comment as a way to express confidence in U.S. troops.

No doubt.

Here's how Dana Milbank and Vernon Loeb handle it in the WaPo:

President Bush yesterday delivered a colloquial taunt to militants who have been attacking U.S. troops in Iraq, saying "bring 'em on" and asserting that the forces in Iraq are "plenty tough" to deal with the threat.

The colorful challenge by Bush provoked indignation from some congressional Democrats, who said the president's bravado was inviting attacks on U.S. soldiers. It came as the president continued to face questions about the chaotic postwar scene in Iraq. Some retired officers, warning of a serious shortage of military manpower, have called on Bush to take the unusual step of activating National Guard divisions to relieve overtaxed troops.(italics mine)

The Pentagon, which is studying whether it needs additional troops in Iraq, is straining to sustain more than half the Army in Iraq while maintaining other troop commitments in Afghanistan, South Korea and the Balkans. Other countries are also resisting entreaties to help in Iraq. In the latest sign of the squeeze, the foreign secretary of India, from which the administration is seeking an entire division, said yesterday that his government remains wary of sending troops to Iraq.


The administration has been struggling to enlist other countries to contribute troops to the Iraqi occupation force and reduce the strain on the U.S. military. Despite vigorous appeals from the president and his senior advisers, however, foreign governments have been reluctant to provide large numbers of troops. While the administration has queried 70 countries about the possibility of contributing forces, 10 have thus far agreed to contribute about 20,000 troops by the end of the summer. Only Britain, Ukraine and Poland have provided substantial assistance so far.

Can't imagine why? Maybe statements like this one?

"Anybody who wants to help, we'll welcome the help," Bush said. "But we've got plenty tough force there right now to make sure the situation is secure." The president left open the possibility of increasing U.S. troop strength, however, saying "we'll put together a force structure who meets the threats on the ground."

Don't thiink this was what these folks had in mind when they made these suggestions:

As a first step, the President should set the direction for his administration by making a major foreign policy address to the nation, explaining the importance of seeing the task through, as well as the costs and risks of U.S. engagement in postwar Iraq.


Develop a clearer political vision and strategy

Employ a wiser approach to communicating with the Iraqi people

Promote public security and the rule of law

Oh well, no one's perfect.