Politics over Good Policy, Yet Again

Failure in Iraq would be a disaster. I think most of us, including Bush and Kerry, agree to that statement. If Iraq remains a state steeped in chaos and lawlessness, it will remain a breeding ground and safe haven for terrorists. It will ensure that US credibility in the Middle East remains in tatters.

So then why is the Bush administration deliberately increasing the chance of failure in Iraq?

Major Assaults on Hold Until After U.S. Vote

Attacks on Iraq’s rebel-held cities will be delayed, officials say. But that could make it harder to allow wider, and more legitimate, Iraqi voting in January.

…”When this election’s over, you’ll see us move very vigorously,” said one senior administration official involved in strategic planning, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Once you’re past the election, it changes the political ramifications” of a large-scale offensive, the official said. “We’re not on hold right now. We’re just not as aggressive.”

The fact that Bush values his own political survival more than he values doing the right thing has been a consistent theme throughout his administration. Time and time again – with regard to budget policy, the mix of tax cuts he advocated, the terrible Medicare drug act, his support for amending the Constitution over gay marriage, the haphazard imposition and removal of trade protection for US industry, the low initial troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, the refusal to use US troops on the front line in Afghanistan, the decision to move into Fallouja and then retreat before securing the city in April – he has made decisions for short-term political benefit, heedless of the long-term consequences that in almost every case were predictably not good.

But this may well be the most dangerous instance of Bush putting politics over policy. I just hope, for all of our sakes, that it doesn’t turn out as badly as those other choices did.