Letters to the Editor

'Lower expectations'

Amazing how quickly the Republican Party went from "everything is on track in Iraq" to, after the election, "we need a new road map."

Before, President Bush declared that an election rebuke means the terrorists win. After, he fired Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, whose replacement admits we're not winning; Senate Republicans intone "disaster" and invoke Vietnam; and President Ford joins the list of Iraq critics posthumously. Did the president hang tough on discredited strategies months longer to try to win elections?

Victor Davis Hanson [column Jan. 14] adjusted to the new party line while arguing for lower expectations. "There are no simple black and white solutions." "People will die daily ... no matter what we do."

Maureen Dowd, in her excellent column [Jan. 14], likened Iraq to the Grimms' "Golden Goose" fairy tale. I think of Brer Rabbit, who works himself into a rage, throws the first punch and becomes hopelessly entangled.

Following the 2004 elections, the president claimed to have political capital to spend. Not much came of that. America had real global political capital following 9/11. Unfortunately for us, President Bush squandered it on the "tar baby" Iraq. That's why we have lower expectations globally.

Don Smith