President George W. Bush’s behavior gets more baffling every day. Most leaders in his predicament would be recalibrating their rhetoric, seeking to alter expectations, so that the inevitable drawdown of U.S. troops from Iraq won’t appear to be a defeat.
Instead, Bush is doing the opposite. Twice this past week, he has appeared before his most bedrock base (the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars), promised to give his commanders whatever they need for victory, and lambasted Congress for so much as contemplating withdrawal, a step, he warned, that would imperil civilization and free peoples everywhere.
He is willfully ignoring two facts. First, almost nobody in a position of power or much influence is advocating a complete withdrawal from Iraq. Second, a partial withdrawal is certain to take place in the next nine months, and this has nothing to do with Congress.