No GOP Plan B for Iraq
By now, Americans should have grown accustomed to the Bush administration's opposition to Plan B. But as it turns out, the ideologues of the Republican Party not only oppose Plan B for American women. They oppose Plan B for American troops mired in the civil war in Iraq
That's the message from House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH). On Sunday, Boehner stood by President Bush's surge strategy, proclaiming "We don't even have all of the 30,000 additional troops in Iraq yet, so we're supporting the president. We want this plan to have a chance of succeeding." But Boehner, who only in September declared of Democrats, "I wonder if they're more interested in protecting the terrorists than protecting the American people," also showed the first cracks in the Republican stonewall on Iraq:
"By the time we get to September or October, members are going to want to know how well this is working, and if it isn't, what's Plan B."
Sadly for the U.S. military and the American people, much of the Republican leadership refuses to even acknowledge the need for a Plan B in Iraq in the likely scenario that the current Bush escalation should fail. Staunch Bush Iraq ally John McCain, for example, declared on April 13, 2007, "I have no Plan B." A month earlier, Secretary of State Condi Rice voiced her determination to damn the torpedos and go full speed ahead regardless of the progress of the Al Maliki government:
"I don't think you go to Plan B. You work with Plan A."
Even Joint Chiefs Chairman General Peter Pace acknowledged that President Bush's surge is his last, best hope. At a meeting of governors in March, Pace announced "I'm a Marine and Marines don't talk about failure. They talk about victory." As Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen (D-TN) recalled, Pace summarized the Bush administration's surge fall-back strategy by saying:
"Plan B was to make Plan A work."
Between now and the fall, Americans can expect a lot of empty talk about toothless "benchmarks" and a facade of accountability for the Iraqi government. Congressional Republicans will continue to offer banal comparisons of the war in Iraq to running a small business (Boehner), a baseball game (Shimkus), or even a hometown market (Pence).
Sadly for our troops, that won't change until the 2008 elections and the prospect of electoral disaster for the GOP looms. Only then, will Republicans enthusiastically support Plan B in Iraq.