Why not victories?

President Bush said today that he “will not pull troops off the battlefield [in Iraq] before the mission is complete.” Speaking in Latvia where he’ll attend a NATO meeting, Bush added that “we can accept nothing less than victory for our children and our grandchildren.”
These are reassuring words to those of us concerned about the mounting pressure on the administration to accept a defeat, whether “managed” for us by Syria and Iran or achieved the more traditional way. However, I’m not sure how Bush plans to obtain “victory” in the sense contemplated by his speech, which appears to include bringing stability to Iraq.
I hope the administration will focus instead on obtaining victories — first over al Qaeda in Anbar province and then, if need be, over Iranian proxy fighters such as, perhaps, the militia of Muqtada Sadr. Whether such victories will produce victory in the strong sense, I don’t know. But it’s probably our best shot, and it sure beats defeat.


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