If Congress is to derail President Bushâ€™s wayward plan to send more U.S. troops to Iraq, it must offer more than non-binding resolutions and bluster on the Senate floor. It must come up with a responsible and compelling alternative. As Bush challenged his critics last month, â€śMy only call to Congress is that if youâ€™ve got a better way to succeed, step up and explain it.â€ť Congress can, and should, do so.
Bush is right that theUnited States cannot merely walk away from the war; ifIraq becomes a lost cause, the likely results include the regional spread of sectarian violence, the intervention ofIraqâ€™s neighbors, and the expansion of terrorist sanctuaries. But Bush is wrong to insist that the United States faces a stark choice between sending more U.S.troops to Iraq and giving up. By altering its war aims before it is too late, theUnited Statesstill has a fighting chance of avertingIraqâ€™s collapse and the regional spread of the conflict. In contrast, dispatching another 17,500 soldiers to confront militias inBaghdad simply puts additional resources behind failed policies, risking a steady slide toward all-out civil war.