You're going to get really sick of this word.
It's that Vietnam era term in war that gets more soldiers killed after we all know a conflict is lost. Escalation is about salvaging something to pin "victory" upon. You know, like "peace with honor." Only in Iraq there is neither, not that there was in Vietnam either. In fact, after we started escalating that's when the blood started to really flow. All because our leaders couldn't admit that it was time to go. Nixon's escalation, however, went beyond all imaginings. That Bush would decide to go the same route seems almost preordained.
So, Mr. Bush is evidently not going to "stay the course," because what he's opted for instead is a foreign policy tantrum. He's getting ready to accelerate the carnage and dump more U.S. soldiers into the desert quicksand of Iraq, because he cannot envision a failure attributed to his presidency. It's all about him.
Of course, losing in Iraq will only hurt The Decider's unpresidential ego. He's not the one with his life on the line, now is he? No, he never is. But not only is he thinking of one last push, he wants $127B to escalate the war even further.
The Bush administration is preparing its largest spending request yet for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a proposal that could make the conflict the most expensive since World War II.
The Pentagon is considering $127 billion to $160 billion in requests from the armed services for the 2007 fiscal year, which began last month, several lawmakers and congressional staff members said. That's on top of $70 billion already approved for 2007.
Since 2001, Congress has approved $502 billion for the war on terror, roughly two-thirds for Iraq. The latest request, due to reach the incoming Democratic-controlled Congress next spring, would make the war on terror more expensive than the Vietnam War.
Growing opposition to the war contributed to Democrats' takeover of the House and Senate in this month's elections. Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha, an early critic of the war who lost his bid Thursday to be the House Democratic leader, vowed to use his clout as chairman of the House panel that reviews the Pentagon budget "to get these troops out of Iraq and get back on track and quit spending $8 billion a month."
"The war's been an extraordinarily expensive undertaking, both in lives and in dollars," said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg, R-N.H.
Leon Panetta, President Clinton's former chief of staff and a member of a bipartisan panel studying recommendations on Iraq for President Bush, said the Pentagon needs $50 billion to $60 billion to "restore the units that are being brought back here, to re-equip them and get them back to a combat-readiness status."
There's a reason all those politically appealing faces, but no Middle Eastern experts, were put on the Iraq Study Group. It's so Bush could have cover and look like he was doing something when he actually wasn't. It's like I've said before. Bush is the commander in chief and so the final decision rests with him. He's also got this emperor tick, thinking that the people voting against the war doesn't matter, because he is after all The Decider.
It's one "last big push," which includes adding 20,000 more troops, meeting lets spend more money, boys and girls. Regardless of what General Abizaid said this week that no more American troops are needed. Regardless of what the American people want. Of course, General Abizaid also said redeployment wasn't an issue. It's what twisted McCain's escalation nose and got him to charge Abizaid with advocating the "status quo."
We're in one hell of a mess now, people. Democrats better be prepared to push back hard or we'll get into the presidential season with a serious escalation in place. Picture that with John McCain running for the White House and you've got recipe for a real… er… What do you call Iraq at that point? We're running out of disaster terms, just like in the bad old days of Vietnam, where Mr. Bush invoked the Iraq war today. Few, so far, are appreciating the irony.