Wednesday, October 13, 2004

# Posted 1:30 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

POLITICS AT THE WATER' S EDGE: Daniel Drezner writes that the administration subordination of its military strategy in Iraq to its re-election strategy in the United States represents a "mortal sin". Riffing on the same LA Times article that Professor Dan cited, Kevin Drum asks:
What was it Bush said during last Friday's debate? Oh yeah: "I don't see how you can lead this country in a time of war, in a time of uncertainty, if you change your mind because of politics."
Ouch! According to the "senior administration official" quoted by the LAT,
"When this election's over, you'll see us move very vigorously."
Presumably, the White House is afraid that a high-casualty operation during the final weeks of the campaign may cost it the election. On the other hand, if the Bush administration were as aggressive as Dan and Kevin suggest it should be, the critics would probably say that Bush was sacrificing soldiers' lives in a desperate attempt to win votes by generating the impression of success in Iraq.

What I don't understand is why a "senior administration official" (or SAO)would have made such a damaging claim. The smart thing to say would have been that the White House is letting the commanders on the ground make all the military decisions so that politics doesn't get in the way.

Perhaps the SAO in question just committed a gaffe. Or perhaps his remarks reflect an intentional effort to shame the administration into being more aggressive on the ground in the run-up to the election that really matters: the one in Iraq.
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