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Video: Kristol believes Bush mulling more than 'short term surge'

David Edwards
Published: Sunday December 24, 2006
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Neoconservative pundit Bill Kristol believes that any increase of U.S. troops in Iraq must be a permanent increase to achieve success.

"There's no point having a short term surge," Kristol said on Fox News Channel. "Especially, if it's proclaimed ahead of time that it's just short term. Then [the enemy] goes into hiding for 3 or 6 months."

"We pull back and we're in the same situation," the Weekly Standard editor said. "Bush will commit -- I believe, when he speaks in a couple of weeks -- to doing this. That this is a strategy for victory and that he's willing to do this for the remaining 2 years of his presidency."

Forecasting the president's plan for Iraq, Kristol adds, "I think [Bush] will say 'We can win. We have to win. We're going to increase troop levels as part of a new strategy for the sake of victory.' And, so, it will not be a short term surge."

Kristol respects the president for increasing troops against conventional wisdom in D.C. and against the wishes of public sentiment, but mocks the majority of people that have doubts about a troop increase, saying, "This is a remarkable moment, though. I came to Washington 30 years ago. How often does a president go against -- what Juan referred to -- the wider consensus in this town, 'the military solution isn't possible?' It's a very broad consensus of the establishment and, I think, that's why there's so much anger among the establishment-types. 'Gee. The Baker-Hamilton Commission pronounced its verdict. And how dare the president make up his own mind and decide that he's not just going to just gracefully accept defeat with this nice bi-partisan patina of the Baker-Hamilton Commission. How dare he decide that we might win in Iraq."

Kristol praises the president's embrace of the neocon-preferred Iraq plan and compares him to President Reagan, saying, "It's nice to see a president showing leadership and courage. It reminds me that the only time I've really seen this was Reagan at Reykjavik [talks] in 1987. He turned down Gorbachev's -- what was thought to be, a very generous offer. You remember this well -- to get rid of so many weapons. And Reagan said, 'No. We're not getting rid of SDI [aka Star Wars]' He went against the bipartisan consensus, the conventional wisdom. He was right and this time Bush is going to do it. It's impressive. It's impressive to take charge in this way."

Juan Williams thinks that it may be too early to praise President Bush for an expected increase in Iraq troops. Expressing his doubts, Williams says to Kristol, "So, you can dress up the fact that [the president] might be wrong, but he might be wrong. And he's been wrong. One of the theories here, if you wanted a troop increase, it should have been done several years ago. And we have tried it, Fred. You say I'm wrong but, Fred, this has been tried -- to secure Baghdad -- this is not a new idea. We tried it and it didn't work."

Fox video clip: