No Question, There is No Weighing!

Washington Post columnist Peter W. Rodman posits that President President Bush is weighing the high strategic stakes in the Middle East and the high political stakes at home with a decision whether to disengage in Iraq against his better judgment and that of his commanders.

I don’t believe Bush is considering this choice. I don’t believe he is wavering at all. I believe he is firmly committed to this course, guided by his internal moral compass. He has not forgotten the stakes that are involved and knows fully the consequences if we cut and run. Rodman tells what will happen:

Potentially the most destabilizing new factor in the world in the coming period is the fear of American weakness. All the hyperventilation about American hubris and unilateralism is a tired cliche; it never had much validity anyway. The real problem is that the pressures pushing us to accept defeat in Iraq are already profoundly unnerving to allies in the Middle East, and elsewhere, who rely on the United States to help ensure their security in the face of continuing dangers. If we let ourselves be driven out of Iraq, what the world will seek most from the next president will not be some great demonstration of humility and self-abasement — that is, to be the “un-Bush” — but rather for reassurance that the United States is still strong, capable of acting decisively and committed to the security of its friends. Given our domestic debate, to provide this reassurance will be an uphill battle in the best of circumstances. It will be even more difficult if President Bush succumbs to all the pressures on him to do the wrong thing in Iraq.

It would be so easy for Bush to wilt like his Dad. Remember “Read My Lips, No New Taxes!” Let us thank God that there is this man who is acting like a grown up. It will be so much harder to ever defend our interests if we turn tail on this one.

Peter W. Rodman


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