Bush's strategy fails because it depends on his credibility.
And to Iran and Syria - and, yes, also to the insurgents in Iraq - we must look like a country run by the equivalent of the drunken pest who gets battered to the floor of the saloon by one punch, then staggers to his feet, and shouts at the other guy's friends, "Ok, which one of you is next?"
I read this list last night, before the president's speech, and it bears repeating because its shape and texture are perceptible only in such a context.
Before Mr. Bush was elected, he said nation-building was wrong for America.
Now he says it is vital.
He said he would never put U.S. troops under foreign control.
Last night he promised to embed them in Iraqi units.
He told us about WMD.
This list goes on and on and is mesmerizing on video. Beautiful!
And after all of that, now it is his credibility versus that of generals, diplomats, allies, Democrats, Republicans, the Iraq Study Group, past presidents, voters last November and the majority of the American people.
Oh, and one more to add, tonight: Oceania has always been at war with East Asia.
Mr. Bush, this is madness.
This becomes your legacy, sir: How many of those you addressed last night as your "fellow citizens" you just sent to their deaths.
And for what, Mr. Bush?
So the next president has to pull the survivors out of Iraq instead of you?
Again, do not miss this one. Also at Crooks and Liars.