September 29, 2003

Rumsfeld Defends His Policy

In an opinionjournal.com op-ed today, Donald Rumsfeld says that neither his military commanders not the Iraqi Governing Council want more U.S. troops in Iraq:

In Baghdad, I met with members of the Governing Council. One message came through loud and clear: They are grateful for what Coalition forces are doing for their country. But they do not want more American troops--they want to take on more responsibility for security and governance of the country. The goal is to help them do so. Those advocating sending more Americans forces--against the expressed wishes of both our military commanders and Iraq's interim leaders--need to consider whether doing so would truly advance our objective of transferring governing responsibility to the Iraqi people.

Meanwhile, between calls for Rumsfeld's resignation, his critics can't decide if we should send more troops, or bring them all home. But I suppose that to them, the important thing is not how our Iraq policy impacts U.S. interests, stability in the Middle East, or the well being of the Iraqi people, or even the logical consistency of their own positions. It's a matter of how much volume and media attention they can generate for themselves carping from the sidelines in opposition to anything and everything Bush does. Nowhere that I have seen is a coherent alternative Iraq policy being articulated by Bush's critics.

Although Bush's recent return to the U.N. was spun as an "I told you so" moment by Europeans and domestic critics, Michael Barone says it is France, Germany and Kofi Annan that have changed course:

Old media reported George W. Bush's speech to the United Nations as a reversal, a concession by Bush that he must seek support from those who opposed an 18th Security Council resolution on Iraq. But it was not Bush who changed course. He stoutly defended the action of the United States, Britain, Australia, and Poland to enforce one resolution Iraq defied (1441) on the authority of another (678) justifying action against Iraq to enforce "all subsequent relevant resolutions." The nations that changed course at the United Nations last week were France and Germany. France announced it would not veto a resolution sought by the United States to open the door to more U.N. aid. Germany announced that it would cooperate with the United States on Iraq. And U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said that the U.N. should consider changing its rules to authorize pre-emptive military action against nations that support terrorism. These three are all moving Bush's way, not the other way around. Those reversals seem likely to be significant.

Posted by dan at September 29, 2003 2:53 PM