Why not 25,000 troops, Sen. Kerry? Why not January? February? Now? The answer is: He has no clue, but he feels the need to say something -- anything -- just bold enough to retain a shred of the relevance he has long since lost.
Notice that Kerry conspicuously fails to tie his recommendation to our overall goal in Iraq, which is to secure the long-term stability of Iraq and the self-determination of the Iraqi people. His goal, in keeping with his lifetime naivete and pacifism, is to withdraw our troops -- period. It doesn't matter how noble the cause -- whether in Vietnam, Iraq, or elsewhere. It doesn't matter how many will have died in vain if we follow his prescription. It doesn't matter what condition we leave Iraq in upon our precipitous withdrawal. If it did, he would dispense with the artificial withdrawal dates and realize that the timing of our withdrawal must be determined by our completion of the mission.
But Kerry's idea of the mission is quite different. Being an unabashed globalist, he believes that the "presence of 159,000 U.S. troops in Iraq is deterring peace efforts," as if our terrorist enemy (any more than the North Vietcong, whom he similarly misjudged) is interested in a peaceful resolution of this war. According to Kerry's counterintuitive analysis, "the insurgency will not be defeated unless our troop levels are drawn down."
Kerry is obviously confusing causes with results. Without question we will not have defeated the enemy until Iraqi security forces can assume primary responsibility for keeping the peace there. But prematurely removing our troops will retard, rather than accelerate that goal.
Despite his personal irrelevance, Kerry is not some wild maverick crying in the wilderness. He is articulating the tired, irrational and reckless position of the Democratic Party mainstream.
But neither the constant hand-wringing of the mainstream media and Democrats over 2,000 American deaths in Iraq, nor their never-ending, obscene ploy to put meat on the skeletal charge that President Bush lied to get us into war will obscure the fact that he has been a historically great wartime president.
For Democrats to make significant inroads in 2006, they are going to have to manufacture a credible position on the war. And for Hillary to prevail in 2008, she's going to have to devise a way to thread the needle between her faux warhawk persona and her rabid, hate-gorged base.
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