The ever present Palooka (Palooka: Do you have a job? I think your responses amount to more words than what PolySigh's contributors are putting out.) writes this in response to my criticism of Bush on Iraq:
You all had unreasonable expectations about Iraq. Blame yourselves, not Bush.
Perhaps they were unreasonable, but they were no more so than the expectations of the Bush administration. I also thought that the long-term enterprise in Iraq would be a difficult and risky venture, with a very strong chance of mistakes and setbacks on the way. I don't hold Bush responsible for that. What I do hold him responsible for is an unwillingness to frankly acknowledge those mistakes and setbacks,and then offer reasonable options for moving forward to the ultimate goal.
But I haven't seen Bush do this. Just to cite one example, it was clear from the post-liberation looting that we didn't have enough troops on the ground to keep order. On an almost daily basis since then, that point has been made over and over and over again. Yet Bush still refuses to acknowledge this and to send in adequate forces for keeping order. Not only does that put a terrible burden on our soldiers, but it undercuts the ability of the U.S. to accomplish its goals of building a stable and democratic Iraq.
Let explain by drawing an anology with Eisenhower and World War II. The Battle of the Bulge was clearly a failure on Ike's part. He and the Allied command were over-confident, they ignored vital intelligence, and they left a sector thinly defended. As a result, they suffered a serious setback, but these things happen in war. What's important is that Ike responded quickly to rectify the damage. He rushed in reinforcements; swallowing his pride and ignoring the protests of his subordinates, he put Montgomery in command of some U.S. forces since it made tactical sense; and he shut down planned offensives by other U.S. forces and redirected them to counterattack against the Germans in the Bulge. In short, he recognized the errors he had made and moved to limit the damage so as not to undercut his ultimate goal.
If Bush had been in a similar position, he would have pressed on with his original plans, talked about how well the D-Day landings and liberation of Paris went, denied that the Germans had broken his lines, and claimed that those criticizing him lacked fortitude or perhaps even wanted to keep Hitler in power.