‘The long and short of it is that by next spring some of the 20 U.S. combat brigades currently in Iraq—perhaps as many as a quarter to a half of them—will be pulling out, and nobody will replace them. This is a mathematical fact, quite apart from anything to do with the upcoming election or the war’s diminishing popularity.
Whether or not you regard this fact as lamentable, President Bush only makes things worse by howling that any pullback would erode American power and embolden the terrorists. Even if his warning is true, for a president to state it so urgently, over and over and over and over, deepens the damage when the storm hits. And given that the storm is certain to hit, it’s irresponsible—it’s baffling—that he’s howling so loudly.’