BILL KRISTOL: You know, what’s striking about Pelosi’s endorsement of Murtha is she believes that the duty of the Democratic Congress is to get us out of Iraq. I think that’s an honest belief of hers, and of Jack Murtha’s. I don’t think that’s political. And everyone — the conventional wisdom in Washington right now is but of course they’ll never cut off funds. That would be politically suicidal, and that’s not going to happen.
I don’t believe that. Four months from now, if things continue to slide downhill, if the president hasn’t adjusted course, if hawks like Senator McCain haven’t been satisfied that there’s been an increase in troops or that we have a real strategy for victory, I think . . . we could be looking at a Democratic House and some Republicans who are willing to just pull the plug on Iraq.
WALLACE: [Y]ou have been nothing if not consistent for a long period of time in saying send in more troops. General Abizaid was asked about that repeatedly by John McCain and Lindsey Graham. He said two things. One, if we sends in more troops, it sends the wrong signal to the Maliki government that they don’t have to get Iraq together. And the other thing he said is, we could send in 20,000 more troops for a brief time, but as it’s currently configured, the military can’t sustain that.
KRISTOL: Well, on the first point, this has been Abizaid and Casey and Rumsfeld’s consistent theory, that Iraqification [handing over the reins] comes ahead of victory, is the way I would put it. Or the only way to win, to be fair to put it, is Iraqification. I think . . . that’s false. We’re failing at Iraqification because there’s no confidence that we’ll be there to help the Iraqis who are with us. So I think that theory was not crazy. It’s been discredited. It’s time for more troops.
Are there more troops? There are. It would be a strain on the army. You could do 20,000 in the short-term. You could do up to 50,000 over six to eight months. It would require a lot of strain and a lot of extending deployments and taking people out of Okinawa and other places and bringing them into Iraq and stressing our commitments elsewhere. And we need to rebuild the military at the same time.
We can afford to win this war. If we choose not to — and I think Abizaid said something very important when he said I come back to Washington and I feel despair. That’s a big problem. I think Bush has two or three months. If by the state of the union — I agree with Brit on this — if by the state of the union, things aren’t getting better on the ground or there’s not a really plausible change of tactics here at home, I am very worried that political support will crumble; not among Democrats, but among Republicans.