But there is another, far more effective option: go wide.
Going wide means recognizing that Iraq is just one front in a regional war against an Islamist Axis centered in Iran--and we cannot win that war without confronting the enemy directly, outside of Iraq.
Going wide means recognizing that the conflict in Iraq is fueled and magnified by the intervention of Iran and Syria. One of the reasons the Iraq Study Group report flopped was that its key recommendation--its one unique idea--was for America to negotiate with Iran and Syria in order to convince these countries to aid in the "stabilization" of Iraq. This proposal wasn't so much argued to death as it was laughed to death, because it is clear that Iran and Syria have done everything they can to de-stabilize Iraq, supporting both sides of the sectarian conflict there.
It is obvious that both regimes have a profound interest in an American failure and retreat in Iraq. After all, if America can successfully use force to replace a hostile dictatorship with a free society, then the Iranian and Syrian regimes are doomed. So as a matter of elementary self-preservation, they have done everything they can to plunge Iraq into chaos, supporting guerrillas and militias on all sides of the sectarian conflict....
Going wide also means recognizing that more is at stake in this war than just the fate of Iraq. This is a war to determine who and what will dominate the Middle East. Will this vital region be dominated by a nuclear-armed Iran, working to spread Islamic fascism? Or will America be able to exert its military influence and political ideals in the region?
This is a momentous question. But observe that the only major foreign-policy debate today is about what to do in Iraq.
The left focuses on Iraq for two reasons. First, they desperately want the US to lose the fight there so as to embarass and humiliate the person and country who they consider their real enemy; and the cause of all the ills in the world--George Bush and America. But second, they are incapable of understanding the big picture or thinking outside their ideological box.
Whenever they open their pretty little utopian music-box, the only sounds heard are denial and delusion playing in sweet antiwar harmony. "De-escalate, Investigate, troops home now!"
What is that mindless chant except the deep denial of people who are incapable of looking at reality? What is happening now in Iraq is a proxy war between Iran and Al Qaeda. If the compassionate and loving left wants to really witness the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, then the US should indeed pull out of that country. The ensuing slaughter won't be able to be blamed on America (though the left will try). It would be immoral for the US to withdraw from Iraq while the murderous predators on her border await an opportunity to act out their genocidal and totalitarian plans. The US is not the only entity interested in Iraq becoming a free and democratic country. Failure to recognize the sinister motives and behavior of Iran and Syria has been a major stumbling block in implementing our strategic interests there. If they are allowed to succeed in undoing the progress toward democracy in that region, then the greater war will also be lost.
In order to win on the Iraqi front in the war on terror, we must deal with reality. Imagine for a moment how things might have turned out if during WWII we had only focused on Japan and not on Germany or Italy? The latter two never attacked us directly--certainly not in our homeland; but if we had ignored them, it would have been at our peril, since all three of the axis powers were allied against us.
Until and unless we recognize this century's axis of evil (and North Korea will also have to be dealt with, but Kim Jong Il is a different kettle of fish than the religious fanatics of Islam) and take the necessary steps to aggressively counter them, we will never be able to embrace victory.
President Bush should indeed 'go wide'-- and (to coin a counter-chant), "escalate, obliterate and send the troops to win", both in Iraq and the larger war.
Forget "Go Big", "Go Long" or "Go Home." Go Wide, Mr. President.
UPDATE: Michael Ledeen has further thoughts.