Brooks: "The question is, what exactly did President Bush propose last night?"
His recap of recent events: On Nov. 30, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki presented Bush with a new security plan for Baghdad. It called for U.S. troops to move out of Baghdad to the periphery, where they would chase down Sunni terrorists...His government didn’t want any restraints on Shiite might.
Over the next weeks, Bush rejected the plan and opted for the opposite approach. Instead of handing counterinsurgency over to the Iraqis/Shiites, he decided to throw roughly 20,000 U.S. troops — everything he had available — into Baghdad...
...Then came the job of selling the plan. The administration could not go before the world and say that the president had decided to overrule the sovereign nation of Iraq. Officials could not tell wavering Republicans that the president was proposing a heavy, U.S.-led approach.
Thus, administration officials are saying that they have adopted the Maliki plan, just with a few minor tweaks...All of this is designed to soothe the wounded pride of the Maliki government, and to make the U.S. offensive seem less arduous at home. It’s the opposite of the truth.
...The enemy in Iraq is not some discrete group of killers. It’s the maelstrom of violence and hatred that infects every institution, including the government and the military. Instead of facing up to this core reality, the Bush administration has papered it over with salesmanship and spin.