Senate Foreign Relations Committee incoming Chairman and just declared presidential candidate Joseph Biden is avoiding John Kerry's political problem and not planning to say "I voted for it before I voted against it" by opposing the President's plan to surge troop levels in Iraq on the front end.
The President has set a political trap for Democrats in two military arenas -- one focused on Iraq deployments and the other on the overall size of the U.S. military at home and abroad.
Bush's first trap has drawn many leading Democrats into advocating a surge in troop levels in Iraq somewhat mindlessly -- without a broader serious discussion of performance benchmarks that ought to precede any further build-up of US troops.
Another trap the President has set is a call for a larger general military force -- something many Democrats running for higher office will find themselves in a knee-jerk supportive position -- even though they should be demanding more dialogue about what a larger military would achieve for or cost the nation.
In my view, it is consistent with the President's irresponsibility in managing the Iraq War that he has failed to couple any discussion of reversing his vaunted tax cuts to a discussion of new investments in the overall size of America's military.
Secondly, by focusing on the numer of overall troops in the military, President Bush is trying to seduce the nation (and Democrats running the Congress) into believing that if only the military were larger, our problems would be solved.
But as a number of smart folks have been saying for quite a long time now:
THE SOLUTION IN IRAQ AND THE MIDDLE EAST IS DIPLOMATIC AND POLITICAL -- NOT MILITARY.
Biden is getting it right. Here are a few of Senator Biden's websites that deserve your attention:
-- Steve Clemons is Senior Fellow and Director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation and publishes the popular political blog, The Washington Note