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April 12, 2004

ED CONE: "Kos and Atrios are fighting the last war. The issue for the Democrats should be that Bush has mismanaged Iraq, not that we shouldn't have invaded in the first place."

That's certainly what the Democrats should be arguing -- except that then they'd have to come up with a plan. Despite Ed's urgings, Kerry has shown no sign of one beyond obviously empty platitudes about "more international cooperation" and the like.

Did the Administration have a good plan going in? I don't know -- but whatever plan they might have had was overtaken by events. As I noted a while back, it seems clear that the rapid collapse of Saddam's forces surprised the Administration and the military, who expected months of fighting, far more casualties than we had (or have had to date) and a more or less orderly advance that gradually incorporated conquered territory under our administration. Maybe they had a great plan for that eventuality, but things didn't break that way. Instead, we were in Baghdad in three weeks, with the entire country falling into our hands and without inflicting especially heavy casualties (which may have made a psychological difference).

The real question is what we do now, not what was done before. (As this DefenseTech post notes, the issues are really political, not military).

To the Democrats, well, "we'd all love to see the plan." Where is it?

UPDATE: Michele Catalano: "It's not the war being waged in Fallujah and Sadr City that scares me the most, though. It's the war being played out against America - by Americans." N.Z. Bear has related thoughts.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More on Kerry:

Past events, such as the conflicts in the U.N. and NATO over the policies towards Bosnia, Rwanda and Kosovo, demonstrate the inability of the international community to put aside their own interests for the good of a nation in peril. President Clinton, perhaps the most loved of American presidents in the international community, could not build a consensus amongst the U.N. to resolve these problems. Perhaps Senator Kerry believes he will have more success in convincing foreign governments unwilling to cooperate in the stabilization of Iraq. He should outline his plan to create this international harmony. And he also should outline his plan in case his effort to internationalize Iraq fails.

As it almost certainly would.