George W. Bush has an Op-Ed–“What the Congress Can Do for America“–in today’s Wall Street Journal.
The essay is a plea for a level of bi-partisan cooperation and common ground that will preserve some relevance for Bush presidency.
I will have the privilege of working with [the 110th Congress] for the next two years — one quarter of my presidency, plenty of time to accomplish important things for the American people.
It is also a preview of some domestic economic policy themes that will likely be featured in Bush’s 2007 State of the Union address (spending restraint and entitlement reform; no new taxes).
The missive is also clearly designed to make the case for a military “surge” in Iraq:
In the days ahead, I will be addressing our nation about a new strategy to help the Iraqi people gain control of the security situation and hasten the day when the Iraqi government gains full control over its affairs. Ultimately, Iraqis must resolve the most pressing issues facing them. We can’t do it for them.
But we can help Iraq defeat the extremists inside and outside of Iraq — and we can help provide the necessary breathing space for this young government to meet its responsibilities. If democracy fails and the extremists prevail in Iraq, America’s enemies will be stronger, more lethal, and emboldened by our defeat. Leaders in both parties understand the stakes in this struggle. We now have the opportunity to build a bipartisan consensus to fight and win the war.
The entire emphasis of the “new strategy” is on the so-called security front. No new formula for national reconciliation, etc. in the political domain. This is about boots on the ground and–I suspect–aggressive counter-insurgency that recalls the anti-Baathist military operations from the summer and early fall of 2003.
Also, note well: “defeat the extremists inside and outside of Iraq.” Which extremists “outside of Iraq” does Bush have in mind? Extremists in Syria? Iran?
A Mandate for War?
Now, according to Bush, in light of the mid-term election victories by the Democrats there is an “opportunity to build a bipartisan consensus to fight and win the war.”
There will be some bi-partisan resistance. 2008 Democratic Presidential hopeful John Edwards looks set, for now, to run Left of Hillary on Iraq. He has denounced the surge and dubbed it the “McCain Doctrine.” And some in the GOP will balk.
But one should not underestimate the level of “bi-partisan” support for a pro-Shiite military surge that aims to return to the original Right Zionist vision for post-invasion Iraq.
Dangerous times, these.