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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

War Among Bush’s Warriors?

It’s now getting pretty obvious that weird things are going on within the Bush administration’s national security apparatus.First, there’s been the peculiar and very atypical open disagreement about what it is the United States is involved in with respect to terrorism, with the Pentagon wanting to drop the Global War on Terrorism (in favor of something called the Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism), and Bush rather pointedly repudiating the change of terminology in a couple of public appearances last week.And second, there’s the constant drumbeat of suggestions from the Pentagon that things are going so swimmingly in Iraq that we might be able to begin bringing home troops by next spring–in sharp contrast to Bush’s repeated argument that any talk of withdrawal prior to the military defeat of the insurgency, or a dramatic increase in Iraqi security capabilities, offers encouragement to the enemy.A lot of Democrats think the Pentagon is finally getting out of denial. But on the Republican side of the punditocracy, there’s neoconservative editor Bill Kristol , who thinks Rummy and the boys are turning coat and undermining Bush after having concluded that Iraq is a military disaster that’s redeemable only by an Iraqi government that’s showing us the door, even as Bush still holds out for a U.S.-led victory over the insurgents.Is this, the most “disciplined” administration in memory, about to be torn apart on the issue it has made its very signature? Hard to imagine, but it’s starting to look that way. It would sure be ironic if Rumsfeld finally got the sack not for his incompetent handling of Iraq, but for his belief that a change of course is necessary.

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