Bush has adopted policies designed to keep the death count low, primarily by avoiding ground combat in the Sunni triangle. Good campaign tactics, needless to say, but, as ever, the Bush team seems better at winning elections than winning wars. By delaying any assault on the wily Salafi terrorists...lurking in Fallujah, Samarra, Ramadi, and Baquba until after November, we give them more time to dig in, prepare defenses, and strengthen their forces before the attack.
An important point comes next, so it gets a paragraph of its own: This plan will get people killed. If an assault is to be mounted, it should be done as soon as possible, before the adversary has been given months to prepare for it. The Marines and soldiers serving in Iraq volunteered for the military, but they've been conscripted into the Bush campaign. Decisions, as Lieutenant General James Conway recently stated, are being made on the basis of narrow political considerations rather than military ones. It's appropriate for generals to be subordinate to civilian politicians, but not to civilian campaign strategists. We're waging war as an extension of an electoral campaign, exposing our soldiers to harassing attacks right now and to a more difficult fight later on in order to help secure the president's re-election.
This is merely another link in the Bush train of letting his political concerns get in the way of unimportant things like safety. From Homeland Security to hunting terrorists to protecting our agents to Iraq today, President Bush has consistently opted to score political points at the expense of the American people. And now it appears that he's going to withdraw from Iraq as soon as he gets the electoral all-clear sign. The stakes are simply too high to let that continue.