Unsell it

Many years ago the organization for which I worked at the time closed a big, multi-million dollar sale (in which I was very involved). The sale had been closed on the basis of some very extravagant promises made by the salesman on the deal. When the regional sales manager looked over the deal and the commitments, his reaction: “Unsell it”.

It’s beginning to look as though the Democrats’ plan of “phased redeployment” (which I commented on here and here) is not meeting with particular favor even on the part of experts who’ve opposed the present approach in Iraq:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 — One of the most resonant arguments in the debate over Iraq holds that the United States can move forward by pulling its troops back, as part of a phased withdrawal. If American troops begin to leave and the remaining forces assume a more limited role, the argument holds, it will galvanize the Iraqi government to assume more responsibility for securing and rebuilding Iraq.

This is the case now being argued by many Democrats, most notably Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the incoming chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who asserts that the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq should begin within four to six months.

But this argument is being challenged by a number of military officers, experts and former generals, including some who have been among the most vehement critics of the Bush administration’s Iraq policies.

The article goes on to quote critics of the war Gen. Anthony Zinni, Gen. John Batiste, and Kenneth Pollack on what a bad idea it would be if the U. S. began to withdraw troops from Iraq while the country is as violent as it is now.

Over the last few days I’ve read a number of claims that the recent election was a referendum on the war and that Democrats now have a mandate to withdraw our forces from Iraq. I don’t happen to agree with that—I think it’s a drastic oversimplification. But if Democrats who campaigned on withdrawal are now having second thoughts about it it will be up to them to unsell it.

I find myself in disagreement these days both with those who favor a nearterm withdrawal from Iraq and with those who favor a substantial increase in our forces there. For the reasons that I disagree with those who favor withdrawal see the NYT article linked above.

But those who favor a dramatic increase in our forces remind me too much of the general who, finding himself defeated, loses his faculties and begins ordering nonexistent regiments into the field. Where will we find the forces to double (for example) our troop commitment? Where will it find political support?

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