Should Democrats be Criticized for their No-Plan Iraq Plan?

Garance Franke-Ruta of the American Prospect’s weblog misunderstands David BrooksNew York Times column on the Iraq surge. Here’s Ms. Franke-Ruta’s criticism of Brooks first…

I had to read this column a couple of times before I could get what exactly David Brooks was trying to say, but as far as I can make out he’s mad at the Democrats for not having yet figured out a way to save America from Bush’s lies and folly, despite the fact that the president ignores everything they and many members of his own party say. Brooks is also mad at Democrats for not coming up with a strategy for staying in Iraq that’s different from the president’s strategy for staying in Iraq, when that’s not, in fact, what they want to do.
But Brooks does not criticize Democrats for not coming up with an alternative plan for staying, he criticizes them for not presenting a convincing plan for withdrawing
The liberals who favor quick exit never grappled with the consequences of that policy, which the Baker-Hamilton commission terrifyingly described. The centrists who believe in gradual withdrawal never explained why that wouldn’t be like pulling a tooth slowly. Sen. Joe Biden, who has the most intellectually serious framework for dealing with Iraq, was busy Wednesday, at the crucial decision-making moment, conducting preliminary fact-finding hearings, complete with forays into Iraqi history.
But the case for withdrawal is prima facie convincing, you say? Then why haven’t the Democrats convinced themselves of it yet? If withdrawing from Iraq is what the Democrats want to do, as Ms. Franke-Ruta implies, then why haven’t they re-introduced the Kerry or Reed-Levin amendments or, even more directly, rescinded the authorization to use military force in Iraq, now that they control the Congress?
It is fair to characterize the position of many anti-war Democrats within government as wanting to create conditions that will force the US to surrender in Iraq, but take no responsibility for it, and that is the position that is bothering David Brooks.

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