In brief remarks to reporters Thursday, Mr. Bush said that a rushed exit from Iraq would carry a high cost, and called attention to a survey in Baghdad, saying that it found "the vast majority of people understand that if America were to leave and the terrorists were to prevail in their desire to drive us out, the country would fall into chaos."
but even his political allies are questioning his commitment:
The Bush administration's decision to speed the transfer of sovereignty to Iraq and replace American troops with Iraqis is bringing fresh warnings from Congress and policy experts against pulling out of Iraq too early and letting election-year considerations dictate Iraq policy.
"The Pentagon strategy of reducing troops doesn't make sense to me," said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, adding that the security situation demanded a continuing American presence.
The administration is not suggesting that a speedier transfer of power to an Iraqi governing authority would mean an end to America's military presence in the country. Indeed, the reduction in troop levels envisioned by the Pentagon would still leave 105,000 American soldiers in Iraq next year, compared to the 130,000 there now.
one critic, Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who ran for president against George W. Bush three years ago, said that, if anything, more American troops � perhaps a division � might be needed to "stay the course," as he put it.
"To announce withdrawals when the number of attacks and deaths of American military are going up is not reasonable or logical," Mr. McCain said in an interview. "If the American military can't do it, then certainly half-trained Iraqis cannot."
"We are in trouble in Iraq and I think there is no other way to say it," said Senator Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican, adding that he hoped that L. Paul Bremer III, the administrator in Baghdad summoned to Washington this week, told Mr. Bush "that we are going to have to do some things differently."
and meanwhile on the ground in Iraq, our military policies are increasingly nonsensical:
American soldiers came to the neighborhood several hours before the attack, local residents said, warning of the impending strike and making sure that everyone in the area was evacuated. Then an American AC-130 gunship strafed the building, knocking holes in the walls and wrecking much of the textile machinery arrayed inside.
After the strike, the Americans came back but detained no suspects, not even the owner of the building, and found no weapons.
The owner, Waad Dakhil Bolane, who said the Americans had warned his guards of the impending air raid, shook his head in befuddlement.
"Does this look like a military base to you?" he asked, standing inside his factory, which was still filled with textile machinery. "The Americans came here, told the guards to leave and then attacked. I don't understand."
Of course, the calls for an increase in deployment are equally nonsensical, since no one has suggested where those troops should come from. As long as the current Administration remains, the chance of foreign troops making a meaningful contribution (ie, ine full division) is virtually nil.