"I want you to think about the Democrat plan for success. There isn't one," the President said Saturday in a campaign stop in southern Indiana. "They are in agreement on one thing - they will leave before the job is done, and we will not let them."
Before the job is done? Just what is the job? Originally the job was to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, but that job was done before we got there.
To eliminate an evil dictator? Saddam Hussein is no longer in power. That job is done.
To bring democracy to the people of Iraq? You can't give people democracy. They have to want it and take it themselves. Right now the people of Iraq are busy fighting among themselves, struggling for political power and for religious influence in the region. The Shiites want what Iran wants and they don't want to be controlled by Sunnis. The Sunnis don't want to face the loss of power they enjoyed under Saddam Hussein, and they want revenues from oil their region lacks. The Kurds want to be left alone. All want to govern in a way consistent with their long culture of extended tribal leadership. None want democracy as we think of it.
To finish the job, you first need to define what the job is.
Perhaps the job is to have the stability in the region that existed before we invaded Iraq. But that stability came at the cost of having Saddam Hussein. Dictators often bring stability via their iron fist, but the stability collapses without them. Yugoslavia collapsed without Marshall Tito. The Soviet Union did not stay together without the threat of the Soviet army. The empires of Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan were not much different.
There is no authority now in Iraq powerful enough to replace the stabilizing force we removed. If we wanted to preserve stability, we should have invaded with a force powerful enough to provide it. That we didn't shows our current Republican leadership didn't care enough about stability then to plan for it, or does not heed the lessons of history. The lack of stability in Iraq comes to us courtesy of President Bush and Republican leadership in Congress.
Perhaps the job in Iraq is to prove wrong a statement by Osama bin Laden. President Bush has repeatedly referred to Bin Laden's remark that Americans don't have the will to fight a long struggle. Is Bin Laden's taunt the reason we continue to fight in Iraq? What Bin Laden thinks should not drive U.S. interests.
Perhaps the job is to prove President George W. Bush's father wrong. Former President George H. W. Bush decided not to eliminate Saddam Hussein during the Persian Gulf War in 1991. He was advised it could lead to instability and civil war in Iraq so he chose restraint. His son never agreed with that assessment. Good judgment may not be an inherited trait.
It's Republicans who should not be trusted to control Congress because their poor judgment has mismanaged Iraq and other important things. Congress is led by ideas pushed by special interest groups, lobbyists and the big money they spread around. That's greed and it's unpatriotic. Laws shouldn't be for sale. No patriot wants that. And no patriot wants to continue making mistakes in Iraq.
President Bush is wrong. Democrats should be trusted to control Congress, if for no other reason than they recognize the mistakes Republicans refuse to see. How can you fix a mistake you refuse to acknowledge? The best plan for success starts with recognizing what doesn't work.