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(Note: This is a repost of Ryan Guptil's earlier blog post after the original was vandalized.)

Our fair city has been awash with language politics in the past few weeks as the President Bush and his administration’s spinmeisters have been pushing a wildly unpopular plan to increase troop levels in Iraq. First they termed the plan “a surge” of 21,500 extra troops. As “surge” became a rallying cry for the President’s opponents, the plan became “anaugmentation” of U.S. forces. By the State of the Union speech, the President had simply decided to send “reinforcements.” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice even quarreled with Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a Vietnam veteran, in a Senate hearing when he characterized the Bush administration’s proposed troop increase as an“escalation.”

Ignoring the subtleties of language politics, tens of thousands took to the National Mall last Sunday, joining military and foreign policy experts, Republicans and Democrats in Congress, and the vast majority of the American people in opposing the escalation. They believed that, as former New York Governor and potential Republican presidential candidate George Pataki stated in a speech at Georgetown last week, “by anyreasonable view” the President’s plan is not realistic and will not bring a lasting peace to Iraq. It is that fundamental fact which dooms the President’s plan, regardless of what he chooses to call it.

When military leaders surged U.S. troops in to Baghdad in a prior attempt to pacify the city, the only was result was increased resentment among Iraqis and to even more violence. The surge will put an even greater strain on U.S. forces that a recent Pentagon report said were already “stretched to the breaking point.”

The administration’s plan is contingent on the false hope that more U.S. troops will somehow lead to a new political and security effort by the desperately weak government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Simply adding more troops into the conflict without setting out a clear plan for leaving Iraq keeps al-Maliki in power without giving him any real incentive to tackle the deep sectarian conflicts that are tearing his country apart. Instead, he can rely on an indefinite U.S. troop commitment to prop him up and can thus avoid taking the politically difficult steps necessary to bring a stable political environment to his strife-ridden nation. Without a clear plan for a phased-redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq forcing the Iraqi government to act, there is little hope that Iraqi leaders will take action to stabilize their nation.

In addition, the President stubbornly refuses to accept the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group and others who have called for negotiations with Iraq’s neighbors, including Iran and Syria. Despite what the Study Group’s report calls “the ability of Iran and Syria to influence events within Iraq and their interest in avoiding chaos in Iraq,” the President continues to put American lives at risk by refusing to even consider negotiations. Instead of engaging in a tough — but constructive — dialogue that could reduce violence in Iraq, the President has been increasing tensions with Syria and particularly Iran with provocative rhetoric and veiled threats of military action.

Without a true political solution in Iraq and a broader diplomatic effort to bring regional powers to the table, the only guarantee offered by the President’s plan is that 21,500 more brave young Americans will be caught in the crossfire of an increasingly bloody civil war without any end in sight. Instead of pushing for more troops in Iraq, the President should be considering a plan offered by Democrats to strategically redeploy U.S. troops out of Iraq over the next six months.

Redeployment would end the culture of dependency in Iraqi military and political circles, forcing the Iraqis to step up and take responsibility for their destiny. Some U.S. troops would still be in the region, however, able to support Iraqi military operations and go after specific terrorist targets. Redeployment would also deprive the insurgents of their main rallying cry — that they are fighting a Western occupier intent on controlling the nation. Simultaneous U.S. with the redeployment, there would be a new “diplomatic surge” aimed at bringing regional and international partners into the process of stabilizing and rebuilding Iraq.

Democrats are offering a way forward in Iraq and way to start bringing our troops home. The President should stop squabbling over terminology and seriously consider the Democratic alternative. If he doesn’t, the U.S. will be left open-ended commitment to a prop up a failed state in the most turbulent region of the world. We will pay dearly for such a commitment, with tax dollars and with the lives of soldiers. The only word for that would be “disaster.”

(Post by Ryan Guptil.)