The bottom line is this: More U.S. troops in Iraq would improve our chances of winning a decisive battle at a decisive moment. This means the ability to succeed in Iraq is, to some significant degree, within our control. The president should therefore order a substantial surge in overall troop levels in Iraq, with the additional forces focused on securing Baghdad.
I believe this is what you would call positioning yourself for the inevitable failure, ie. covering your ass. Kristol and Lowry never define exactly what substantial increase in troop level we need. Probably because the numbers we would need to bring a positive outcome would shock the American people at this point, not that we have them to deploy in those numbers anyway.
It's all irrelevant because it simply isn't going to happen. This administration will never admit failure no matter how obvious it is to see.
The real problem is that this argument is about two and a half years too late. With a proper Phase 4 war plan for post-hostilities occupation we would have had the troop levels Kristol and Lowery are calling for now (I'm guessing, again, they never put a number on it). Of course, back then they were advocating the neo-con fantasy that we could waltz in, do nothing, and everything would work out just fine. It didn't and you don't just put the genie back into the bottle, especially when that much oil wealth is at stake.
You can think whatever you want about the Iraq war, I have always thought it was a grave mistake, but if they were going to do it they should have done it right. That is the problem with where we stand today. We screwed it up and now we're stuck with a president who isn't just willing not to lose, he is willing not to win as well so we are in a very precarious jam.
Look, if you truly believe this is a battle for civilization, as wrong as you are, at least treat it as such. Instead Bush has pursued policies that enrich the wealthy and at the same time bleed the nation of our blood and treasure with no possibility of victory in Iraq. It's no wonder people see his rhetoric on the war as hollow, hell it is hollow. And it has left the American people with two choices, do what it takes to win, or get out. In November, I believe they will make their position known, but they will probably have to reiterate in 2008 as well.