OK, here’s a recent column in the Post:
According to recent news reports, the Bush administration will not ask Congress for additional foreign aid for Iraq in its coming budget request. This would be a major strategic mistake. Iraq’s infrastructure is still in mediocre shape, and most of its citizens are still seriously underemployed. Such an aid cutoff would be especially surprising coming from a president who has built his Iraq policy on an unflinching commitment to staying the course and completing the mission. Economics is a critical element of any success strategy for Iraq.
That tracks back to an earlier article in the Post:
The Bush administration does not intend to seek any new funds for Iraq reconstruction in the budget request going before Congress in February, officials say. The decision signals the winding down of an $18.4 billion U.S. rebuilding effort in which roughly half of the money was eaten away by the insurgency, a buildup of Iraq’s criminal justice system and the investigation and trial of Saddam Hussein.
Just under 20 percent of the reconstruction package remains unallocated. When the last of the $18.4 billion is spent, U.S. officials in Baghdad have made clear, other foreign donors and the fledgling Iraqi government will have to take up what authorities say is tens of billions of dollars of work yet to be done merely to bring reliable electricity, water and other services to Iraq’s 26 million people.
Over and over what I and others have said – and what I have appreciated President Bush as saying – is that “We’re In Until We Win.” Our opponents cannot simply bloody our troops and sit and wait until we get bored with our venture and leave.
This message – “Oh, we’ll leave our troops in, but sound fiscal policy prevents us for doing anything to reduce the numbers of people shooting at them.” – isn’t ‘bizarre’ as I characterized it before; it’s delusional.
Look, I’ve said over and over that my support for Bush and the Administration is predicated solely on my belief that they are determined and serious about winning the war. And – simply – WTF? – how in the world does this connect to winning the war?
OK, so here’s the challenge for my fellow hawks. Either explain to me why this is just fine – why it is that even if there is no immediate fiscal impact (which I doubt), the psychological impact – on the Iraqis who have bet their lives on us, and on those who think we are weak and will run away – doesn’t matter. If you can’t, than what are we as bloggers going to do to raise the stakes on this? I’ll be corresponding with a bunch of hawkish bloggers to see if we can speak with a common voice on this.
I’ll make this my project for the week, and be reporting back to everyone here.