Bush is back into his "war leader" mode right now, hoping to trump the Democrats with it in the mid-term elections in November. From On the offensive: Bush seizes on favorable Iraq developments to boost GOP election hopes by Marc Sandalow San Francisco Chronicle 06/15/06
"There is an interesting debate in the Democrat Party about how quick to pull out of Iraq,'' Bush said dismissively. "Pulling out of Iraq before we accomplish the mission will make the world a more dangerous place. It's bad policy.'' ...
Bush's chief political aide Karl Rove was more combative earlier this week in New Hampshire when he ridiculed Kerry and Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., both decorated war veterans who voted in 2002 to support the use of force in Iraq, but are now calling for troop withdrawal.
Rove said the two are typical of Democrats who "are ready to give the green light to go to war, but when it gets tough, and when it gets difficult, they fall back on that party's old pattern of cutting and running. They may be with you at the first shots, but they are not going to be with you for the last, tough battles.''
"If Murtha had his way,'' Rove said, "American troops would have been gone by the end of April, and we wouldn't have gotten Zarqawi.''
The attack fits the White House's pattern in previous campaigns when they argued that the opposition party cannot be trusted to complete the mission in Iraq or protect Americans from terrorists.
Joe Conason gives us his take on the latest political strategy in Fear and smear Salon 06/16/06:
At last we know what Republicans mean when they talk about a "plan for victory" in Iraq. They still have no real plan to achieve victory in Iraq itself, where civil conflict worsens, casualties continually rise, and even the elimination of the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq seems unlikely to reduce the carnage. They have no plan to extricate our troops or even to improve the lives of the Iraqi people. But they do have a plan to win a partisan victory in the congressionalmidterm elections -- by using the Iraq war to divide this country. ...
The second "tell" regarding Rove's strategy surfaced this week in a "confidential" memo issued by House Majority Leader John Boehner in anticipation of Thursday's debate over a phony House resolution on the war. Boehner instructed his minions to pretend that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were the same, to insist that 9/11 made war in Iraq unavoidable and to rewrite the history of the past five years to smear the Democrats as "irresolute" and "wavering."
The truth, of course, is quite different. The Democrats in Congress gave the president total support in the aftermath of 9/11, with an authorization to use military force against the nation's enemies and a moratorium on partisan criticism. They have continued to offer unstinting support for the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, even though the White House has botched that effort, too.