Whose ‘Retreat And Defeat’?

The Bush campaign finally has a response to John Kerry’s Iraq critique that doesn’t involve the word “flip-flop.” The new line, in the words of Bush spokesman Steve Schmidt, is that Kerry advocates “retreat and defeat.” The president, by contrast, “will complete this mission.” As President Bush himself declared during last week’s news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, “We will stay the course and stand with these people so that they become free.”
This sounds plausible enough. After all, Kerry says he hopes to withdraw all U.S. troops in his first term, while Bush claims to reject any such timetable, saying that America will stay in Iraq “as long as necessary, and not one day more.” But in fact Bush has a de facto timetable of his own. And it will probably set in motion an American “retreat” no matter who takes the oath of office next year.
Bush is adamant that Iraq not delay elections due to be held by Jan. 31, regardless of conditions on the ground. That seems consistent with his promise to stay the course. But in fact, quick elections could produce an abrupt change of American course.
Whose ‘Retreat And Defeat’? (washingtonpost.com)

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