Sunday on NBC’s Meet The Press, Republican Chairman Ken Mehlman said, “We’re not coming in and saying ‘Stay the Course.’ The choice in this election is not between ‘Stay the Course’ and ‘Cut and Run’ it’s between ‘Win by Adapting’ and ‘Cut and Run.’” We have heard “Stay the Course” for a long time now. We heard it as Iraq continued to get worse and worse. We had to Stay the Course. We heard it has sectarian violence rose. We had to Stay the Course. We heard it as death squads wandered Baghdad engaging in ethnic cleansing. We had to Stay the Course. Up until last weekend we heard it from every Republican. We had to Stay the Course. But now Ken Melman tells us it is no longer Stay the Course, it is Win by Adapting.
With my son back in Iraq, I wasn’t fond of Stay the Course. Continuing on the path that has resulted in Iraq becoming increasingly violent didn’t seem a wise plan. But it was a plan. Win by Adapting is not a plan. It is a reaction. Something happens and then you decide what to do; you react. You wait for something else to happen and decide what to do now; you react. I am not sure which is worse, going in the wrong direction or going in no direction. We need a proactive plan to succeed in Iraq.
The Democrats have put forth a number of plans to succeed in Iraq. Plans that the Republicans like to call “Cut and Run”. But as I discussed in my article What Does Cut and Run Look Like, even the most liberal Democratic plan, with a date certain for strategic redeployment of our troops, allows for as many troops as required to stay and train the Iraqi security forces, conduct counter terrorism operations and protect U.S, troops and facilities. While the Democratic plans may vary in the timeline for the strategic redeployment of our troops, all of them lay out a plan for succeeding in Iraq and redeploying our troops to Afghanistan to fight the real war on Terror; to go after Bin Laden and Al-queda; the real architects of world terrorism. We can’t afford to waste resources wandering around Iraq hoping it will get better. We must have a direction that will lead to Iraq to develop their full potential, assuming primary responsibility for their county. As Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Jay Rockefeller said, “I fear many of our policies over the past five years have done more to inflame extremism than to diminish it. I believe the war in Iraq has diverted resources and undercut the Bush Administration’s ability to protect our people against a terrorist attack.” It is time to redeploy our troops and our resources to achieve real security overseas and at home. It is time for a plan, not a reaction.