MORE ON THE SURGE….I wasn’t planning to follow up my earlier post about the coming troop surge in Iraq, but I probably should clear up at least one thing. As regular readers know, I’m unequivocally in favor of withdrawing from Iraq, but this morning I suggested that I’d be secretly happy to see a surge happen since it would deprive conservatives of an excuse to blame the Iraq fiasco on something other than the war itself (i.e., bad execution, liberal perfidy, media bias, etc.). Both Matt Yglesias and Atrios disagree because, they say, conservatives will blame the loss in Iraq on liberals no matter what happens.
Believe me, I’ve got no argument with that. There’s no question that conservatives will try to hang our failure in Iraq around liberal peacenik necks, but that’s not what’s important. What’s important is whether they succeed. Public opinion is key, and if they go ahead and do their surge, and it fails, it’s going to make the conservative story a lot harder to tell. The public just isn’t going to buy it.
Now, I might still be wrong about this. Maybe the public will buy it no matter what happens. But for what it’s worth, my sentiment about this isn’t driven by some hazy belief that conservatives will eventually see the light and start singing Kumbaya. Rather, it’s based on two things: (a) George Bush is in charge and there’s no real way for liberals to influence war strategy anyway, and (b) if the surge fails, the public will be less amenable to an eventual conservative stab-in-the-back narrative.
And if the surge works? I’m not going to waste any brain cells on that remote possibility, but if it does I guess it’ll teach us liberals a lesson, won’t it?