Saturday, September 13, 2008

Change he could believe in

The White House has put out a Friday night press release which disputes the conclusions that Bob Woodward draws from Bob Woodward's book about the crisis in Iraq war policy in 2006. One interesting thing about the release is that it neatly, if unintentionally, summarizes Bush's thought process that led him to the surge. It had just two steps.

1. There had to be a radical change in troop levels, up or down: At a December 12 NSC meeting, the President explained, "'We have to do something different. . . . We have to demonstrate that we're doing something fundamentally different.'

2. A radical change down was out of the question: In early December, "Hadley realized the president was going to go with the surge. It was the only option that seemed to offer a bold change. Talk of an exit seemed absurd to Bush."

So he wanted more or fewer troops, but couldn't conceive of the logical implication of fewer troops. So the decision was more.

Thus the process by which the Churchill of our time was led to the greatest strategic decision ever. Think they could use a few more of those troops in Afghanistan right now?

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