I thought President Bush has been lying to us about our troop requirements in Iraq and that the generals were too afraid of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to contradict his claim that we had enough troops. Isn't that what the critics have been telling us? Well, Rumsfeld is on his way out and the generals are telling Congress that he and Bush have been telling the truth all along.
Our lofty politicians say we should never politicize the war, yet the 2008 presidential frontrunners of both parties, Senators Hillary Clinton and John McCain, did precisely that as they each tried to use Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the Mideast, as an unwitting prop to launch their respective campaigns. I guess this is an example of the "bipartisanship" we can expect from the new Congress.
Unfortunately for these Oval Office aspirants, Abizaid didn't succumb to their shameless grandstanding or defer to their simulated senatorial sagacity, but took them both to the woodshed when they tried to manipulate him during his Senate testimony into supporting their differing positions on the war.
McCain was visibly frustrated with Abizaid's refusal to bow to his imperious wisdom that we should have more troops on the ground in Iraq. Other senators questioned whether we had too few troops.
Abizaid's response, which left some stupefied, was reminiscent of a scene from the movie "Amadeus." When the Austrian emperor criticized Mozart's piece as having "too many notes," Mozart replied, "No, your Excellency. It has just the right amount of notes: not too many, not too few." So it was with Abizaid to McCain and Clinton: "There are neither too many troops, nor too few troops, but, all things considered, approximately the correct number of troops."
Clinton, though having shrewdly positioned herself as a centrist hawk, has routinely taken shots at Bush and Rumsfeld. If you are running for office these days and presenting yourself as pro-military, you have to find a way to distinguish your position from the president's Iraq policy so to avoid its taint.
Abizaid and others testifying made it very clear that the Democratic allegation that Bush has been lying about troop requirements in Iraq is maliciously false. How sweet it would be if these blowhards could be held accountable just once in this life for repeatedly bearing false witness against the administration about the things that matter most!
Clinton, looking through her pedantically professorial reading spectacles, said, "We don't have a military force that is creating a secure environment. Hope is not a strategy."