If The Surge Fails...

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THE PLANK FEBRUARY 3, 2007

If The Surge Fails...

In somewhat surprising news, The Weekly Standard has boldly taken a break from highlighting the childhoods of unremarkable public servants in their new issue. Specifically, there's a pretty ridiculous piece by Noemie Emery (she of "Bush is the new Truman" fame) about the surge. Still, the article's important, if for no other reason than it gives an advance glimpse of what the right's talking points will be if the president's strategy fails.

Emery starts off with some highly questionable political analysis:

The Democrats have also given Bush a partial alibi for a possible failure--he tried, but at a critical moment they threw in the towel. This argument would be plausible enough to attract support from a great many people.

An unsuccessful surge will lead people to blame the Dems? That makes perfect sense. Just like the American people have blamed Democrats for the war's failures thus far.

Next is an all-too-common meme that has been emanating from the administration, but is (shockingly!) repeated here: Who knows what the future holds?

The 2008 election cannot be predicted, as it depends on too many things that can change without warning; Iraq, Iran, Korea, terror strikes anywhere, unlooked-for wins and losses; challenges and responses no one can imagine, much less strategize on in advance. What looks like smart, or save-your-rear politics in 2007, may look rather different before long.

Well sure. Maybe the country will move so far right (or is it left?) that Moqtada Al Sadr will rule America by popular will in 2009. Anything's possible. So what?

Finally, Emery gets to her most ominous argument: The Democrats will in fact be to blame if the surge does not pacify Iraq. I had assumed Kristol and company were so confident of success that they didn't even need to lay the intellectual groundwork in case things don't go as planned. Oops:

If the surge is seen to fail, [Democats] will be the ones who made it more difficult, demoralized the armed forces, kneecapped the commander, and telegraphed to the enemy that our will was cracking, and we would shortly be leaving.If a failure ensues, it is no longer his fault, in its entirety. Now it is his fault--and theirs.

It's enough to make one yearn for more "American Girlhoods".

--Isaac Chotiner

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