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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Why Bush is Losing the War in Iraq

If you think that headline is off base, then you've forgotten the basic lesson all leaders of democratic regimes must remember about the politics of war - you must make your case continually because you risk losing public support when you don't. That is not a lesson of Vietnam, by the way, but of Thucydides in "The Peloponnesian War."

With that in mind, there is a prescient juxtaposition today in the public debate between the wise counsel of former Bush advisor David Frum in his analysis of the President's Salt Lake City speech yesterday and Editor & Publisher editor Greg Mitchell's column calling on the nation's newspapers to come out of the closet, as it were, and actively oppose the war.

All second terms are rough for incumbents, but Bush faces two gathering storms that could undo everything he accomplished in his first term - the growing dissatisfaction on the Right with Bush's refusal to confront Congress on spending and the doleful consequences of failing to make the case for his strategy in Iraq and the war on terror.

The former if left unaddressed will eventually split the GOP and the latter if left unaddressed will eventually undermine the post-9/11 public consensus that it is better to fight terrorists "over there" than over here.