What Can Possibly Be in Bush's Head on Escalation?

The following is a guest post from Robert Reich.

Question: Why is Bush willing to risk his party’s future, as well as his own legacy, by putting more troops into Iraq when it’s clear to almost everyone – including top military brass, foreign policy experts, and most analysts and journalists on the ground there – that Iraq is descending so quickly into civil war that more troops won’t make a bit of difference except causing more American deaths and instigating more violence?

(Choose one):

A. It’s a delaying tactic. Bush and Cheney figure the escalation will delay by six to eight months the day when Democrats and newly-anti-war Republican agree to a timetable for withdrawal and for reducing defense appropriations. By that time, Dems and Republicans are in the gravitational pull of the primaries. Dem candidates for president will be squabbling so loudly among themselves about all sorts of things that the party leadership won’t be able to get a consensus about what the timetable for withdrawal should be, Republicans will be split between followers of McCain and other Rep candidates, and the media and the public will be paying more attention to all the squabbling than to Iraq. This allows Bush and Cheney to continue to war until the end of the administration, at which point Bush claims vindication and turns the problem over to the next president.

B. It’s a predicate for extending the war into Iran. With more American troops there, the chances increase of a direct skirmish between them and military "advisors" from Iran. That gives Bush the chance to make the case America is already at war with Iran, and in order to "defend our troops" we have to push the Iranians back. Iran, meanwhile, refuses weapons inspections. We’ve been this route before. Bush preemptively launches a missile into Iran to wipe out its nuclear facilities. The American public forgets the quagmire in Iraq, Sunni Arab nations and Israel rush to defend Bush’s preemptive move, and Bush calls for a regional solution. By this point he claims vindication and turns the even bigger problem over to the next president.

C. Bush is clueless. He doesn’t know how bad the situation is in Iraq because he has surrounded himself with people who tell him what he wants to hear, the only TV he watches is Fox News, and the only radio is the Rush Limbaugh Show.

[Answer to come]

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