In his address to the National Guard convention Tuesday, President Bush claimed that "our strategy (in Iraq) is succeeding." His remarks contrast sharply with the assessment of Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, who had this to say about our failure to make progress in the reconstruction of Iraq: "It's beyond pitiful, it's beyond embarrassing, it's now in the zone of dangerous." Republican Sen. Richard Lugar, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, seemed also to disagree with the president: "Our committee heard blindly optimistic people from the administration prior to the war and people outside the administration - what I call the 'dancing in the street crowd,' that we just simply will be greeted with open arms. The nonsense of all of that is apparent. The lack of planning is apparent."
The best reason Bush has to offer voters to re-elect him is that he is an unswerving man of conviction, and that at least they can "know where he stands." But the fact that he is unswervingly committed to policies that have proven to be disastrous is hardly comforting. If, as Bush has so often claimed, the war in Iraq is "the central front in the war on terror," then Americans have good reason to doubt the competence of this administration to effectively wage either.