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"Staying the Course"

Everyone knows what President Bush meant when he said "stay the course" -- that we would stay in Iraq until the mission was complete. Everyone knows that is still the course the President is following. What was wrong with the "stay the course" phrase is that it was an insufficient soundbite. It did not explain that the tactics used on the ground in Iraq were not static, but have always been changing, and continue to be changed and adapted as necessary. Most would say they have not always been changed quickly enough, or that some strategies have not been successful, but anyone who is honest, and knows the facts, knows that the military has adapted time and time again in Iraq.

I say "everyone knows" what "stay the course" meant, but unfortunately everyone has not been honest about it. Some, no many, have used the phrase to mislead voters into thinking that there was only one plan put in place three years ago for Iraq and that, in spite of what we have encountered on the ground there, not one aspect of that plan has changed. Those in the military certainly know better.

The Ugly American wrote an excellent post on the subject of "staying the course" in Iraq asking "What is the alternative?" He shares some discussions he has had with an Iraqi friend and they are very interesting. Read it all.

Update: Democrats are just too darned predictable. President Bush says he isn't going to say "stay the course" anymore because it does not accurately convey what we have been and are continuing to do in Iraq. He isn't saying we are changing the goal, or even the overall strategy in any real way, but rather that we are continually changing methods to achieve that goal, as we have been doing all along. I think it is kinda dumb to announce that you are no longer going to say "stay the course" if you aren't really doing anything significantly different. Why not just stop saying it?

But now to the predictable as the sun rising in the morning, sky is blue, grass is green Democrats who are accusing Bush of being a flip-flopper. Hill. Air. E. Us. Dems have been screaming for not just months, but years, for Bush to abandon his mission in Iraq and have ridiculed him for saying he is staying the course. Then when they say he is no longer staying the course (which as I explain above is not really the case anyway) they call him a flip-flopper. You can't win with Democrats -- that is why it is incredibly stupid to try. Don't play word games, just do what you think is right. Democrats will blame you for everything that goes wrong, and ignore everything that goes right and no new set of words will change that -- that is just the way of the world today.

(And yes, I do realize that words are important, but where Democrats are concerned, it doesn't really matter what Republicans say. Their script never changes.)

Update II: The commenters here often say things much better (and more concisely) than I do. I really liked this comment from Justrand:

..."Stay the course" turned out to be too complicated for the Leftists.

"stay the course" is actually just a variation of "HOLD FAST!"

But Leftists have NO IDEA how to do that!! (at least not in the face of the enemy!)

I'm actually glad the Prez is going to spell it out now: "We are going to succeed in stabilizing Iraq politically, and in killing the dumb sumbitches who are in country trying to kill us!!"

THAT is "the course".


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference "Staying the Course":

» Flopping Aces linked with Sorry, No Gotcha! Once Again

» Blue Crab Boulevard linked with Alternatives

» Mensa Barbie Welcomes You linked with Article: IRAQ- Uniting Against the Jihadis

Comments (36)

Are we walking about this <... (Below threshold)

Are we walking about this stay the course?

"pucker puss" (lee lee)--"w... (Below threshold)

"pucker puss" (lee lee)--"walking" ????? -dumbass-you got to live in San F. among the "happy" ones.

To Republicans" stay the c... (Below threshold)

To Republicans" stay the course" means advocating staying in Iraq indefinitely, and label opponents of that plan as "cut and run Democrats", if we think it'll helps us get our sorry, lobbyist-licking *sses re-elected --

-- and if it looks like it will hurt us instead we'll change our minds.

The Republican whores have flip-flopped again. They'll do anything and say anything to get your vote.

How many lives did it cost? How many billions lost while the Republicans played these political games?

Vote these clowns out of office. It's time for a change.

Great post Lorie. Peter Bak... (Below threshold)

Great post Lorie. Peter Baker unwittingly admitted today in the WaPo that he and his fellow journalists did their best to twist the Bush admins meaning of "stay the course"

In his own words:

"But the White House is cutting and running from "stay the course." A phrase meant to connote steely resolve instead has become a symbol for being out of touch and rigid in the face of a war that seems to grow worse by the week,"

Gotta love those objective journalists.

Thanks for the link 8).

"pucker puss" (lee lee)-... (Below threshold)

"pucker puss" (lee lee)--"walking" ????? -dumbass-you got to live in San F. among the "happy" ones.

jhow66's most insightful posting yet.

Live by the soundbite, die ... (Below threshold)

Live by the soundbite, die by the soundbite.

If stay the course really means something other than stay the course, does it therefore follow than cut and run doesn't really involve cutting and running?

Looks like Pres Shrub was for staying the course before he was against it. What an f-ing flip-flopper!

"Listen, we've never been '... (Below threshold)

"Listen, we've never been 'Stay the course.'"
-- George W. Bush, in This Week interview

"The course," as everybody knows, is whatever is politically expedient for that week. Anyone who says that the Bush administration planned out the post-invasion phase of the Iraq war is lying or kidding themselves. It's just happening, and the Bush administration is just hoping something will someday take shape, and they'll call it "democracy." Meanwhile, our sons and daughters are dying in Iraq.

Right: You can't stay a course you haven't plotted. You can follow a drunkard's walk, though, and that's what we've got.

Everyday , LORIE says somet... (Below threshold)
Mark Blahut:

Everyday , LORIE says something dumb - Its bloggers
like her that make the righty blogs look bad .
Flip - Flop - Flip - Flop
Stay the course means what it implies !
How did she get this job and what kind of parents
would raise someone who has no sense .
Wizbang should do everything it can to stop this girl .
Flip - Flop .

Bush said, " I was never st... (Below threshold)

Bush said, " I was never stay the course".

But over the last two days:

"Is there going to be peace? Is there going to the end of any violence? Of course not. This violence is going to go on for a long time," Hadley said.

"Are there dramatic shifts in policy? The answer is no," Snow said Monday.

Sounds like stay the course to me.

"insufficient soundbite"</p... (Below threshold)

"insufficient soundbite"

I'm glad you cleared this up, as political soundbites need front page coverage. And as far as I can tell, it's the only insufficiency in this administration worth covering.

Very interesting article; I... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Very interesting article; I, too, have wondered about many of the same things.

Unfortunately, like most Arabs, the Iraqis lack of personal responsibility and their seeming unwillingness to do something about the current chaos is not terribly surprising. I'm not sure if I can articulate this rampant social problem very well without coming across as some dime-store sociologist, but this willingness, almost desire to be dominated or told what to do and how to do it explains, in part, why they are struggling with the concept of freedom and the personal responsibility that comes with making free choices. It is FAR easier in the Arab world to blame someone else--often the Jews or, in our case, Bush and the Americans--for the current climate, instead of themselves. (That's not to see that we don't bare some of that responsibility, we do. No question about it.) The shifting of blame and deflection is social disease that we have to deal with. How? There are myriad answers to that questions, but through the media and holding the Iraqis in charge3 accountable is (perhaps) one way.

Yet to think that Iraqis and Arabs at large are resigned to the bitter fates of tyranny or that they are incapable of peaceful governance and taking on personal repsonsibility is to promote the worst in humanity: lack of hope. And that's not a trait Americans posses or promote--both on the left or right or in the middle.

I think that's problem with TUA's "If they want to live under the yoke of dictators so be it. When we feel threatend by our enemies we should simply kill them and leave."; there's no hope in in, no possibilities for a better world, just a repetitive cycle of violence and oppression and puts us right back where we started. That's not us; that's not America.

I believe the message needs to made loud and clear and harshly to the Malaki government and BY the Malaki government that American blood will not be wasted (and I'm very frustrated and angry at the Iraqis' lack of acknowledgement of this fact) and the blood of innocent Iraqis will not be wasted for this chaos. (I also believe some large scale military operations are going to have to happen in order to quell this; not the least of which is taking on the Al Sadr's militia.) I also believe we have to have a zero tolerance policy for planters of IED's and terrorist acts (like murdering police recruits); if caught in the act, they should be shot on the spot. Iraqis need definitive proof of our intolerance for terrorists; and Iraqis, like most Arabs, understand violence. (Yes, that's a shitty reality and it doesn't seem to have "hope" in it, but one we must realize as being a reality and one should seize upon in order to successful.)

Will this solve all of the problem or even a huge part of it? No, but getting this message of responsibility across would be a very good step. And, unlike some of the alternatives, there's hope in it.

Lorie is right. The rest o... (Below threshold)

Lorie is right. The rest of you are riddiculous.

Nothing about "stay the course" implies that methods can't be flexible, it's the goal and determination that stay.

And how can "bring our troops home now" mean anything other than "cut and run?" Not that any Dem politician who is facing an election now will say "bring them home now" in public. Now it's all nuanced, just wanting time tables and nevermind having to answer as to why time tables are a good military strategy.

And *that* is at the same time as saying that *obviously* what Bush did wrong was not haven enough troops in Iraq. So where are the calls and insistance that we send more troops to Iraq? How can people be trusted who say Bush made mistakes but don't actually advocate what they say should have been done but something entirely different... get out as soon as possible and pretend the problem will go away.

"Advance to the rear" is cute. "Withdraw and re-deploy" would be cute too, if it were a joke instead of a real "plan". And that's as "stay the course" as Democrats get, as focused on victory as they get.

I disagree - (<a href="http... (Below threshold)

I disagree - (here )that "everybody knows" what Bush was talking about.

One has to first know what the 'course' is... and Bush never spelled out just what had to happen in Iraq for us to say the job was done. For instance, when he says Iraq needed to be peaceful, did he mean NO deaths from terrorism or just SOME deaths? The same thing for building the infrastructure: how much rebuilt and when?

In my mind, Bush was intentionally vague - and not it's coming back to haunt him... and deservedly so.

Someone is totally wrong. E... (Below threshold)

Someone is totally wrong. Everyone does not know what 'Stay the Course' means. "Victory" as described by 'stay the course' is a languange in an unknown tongue to the democrats. They're still suffering from being totally responsible for the murder of 3 to 5 million men, women, and yes 'Children' in Southeast Asia in the 70's. A perfect example of the result of 'cut and run' by the cowardly democrats. The blood of millions on your hands is a lot of guilt which has led to a lot of insanity.

Damn loser Republicans are ... (Below threshold)

Damn loser Republicans are flip-flopping left and right - stay the course doesn't mean stay the course it means, uhm "stay the course" - you know - in a good way...

Damn cut and run lying Republicans are lining their pockets with lobbyist's money while American soldiers and innocent Iraqis die.

It's time for a change.

"there's no hope in in, ... (Below threshold)

"there's no hope in in, no possibilities for a better world, just a repetitive cycle of violence and oppression and puts us right back where we started. That's not us; that's not America."

I was being sarcastic Peter. I completely agree with you. We are never going to just bomb people into oblivion and leave them to rebuild on their own. Thats not the way Americans do things.

We very well may end up focusing much more violence on Iraqis in order to bring this country in order and make it a safe place to live. In hindsight it is very apparent to me that is what we should have done in the first place.

Lee...I'm flying from Houst... (Below threshold)

Lee...I'm flying from Houston to Dallas...On the way a storm comes up...now should I expect the pilots to...
A. Turn around and go back to the Departing airport(cut and run)
B. Go around the storm and arrive at my destination.(Stay the Course)
Sorry I had to make it simple for you, it's not the best analogy but it'll have to do.

Nice analogy Chip.... (Below threshold)

Nice analogy Chip.

Examples HAVE to be used for a liberal brain to comprehend as common sense is absent....

chip,to use your own... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

to use your own analogy -
what if the storm is really bad and you have to make an emergency landing somewhere in between?

or, what I think is better for the situation we now have ourselves in -
what if the pilot/airline did not calculate wind speed, distance, aircraft weight, etc correctly and did not fill the plane with enough fuel? Do we "stay the course" and most certainly crash or "cut and run" and explore other landing areas ASAP?

Sean, The point is... (Below threshold)


The point is...someway, somehow, I'll still get to Houston. Not Okinawa.

I am confused, if it is ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

I am confused, if it is no longer "Stay the Course" in Iraq, is White House policy now "Change the Course" which Kerry advocated in 2004, and was ridiculed by Bush in the campaign of that year?

TUA:My apologies! ... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:


My apologies! Obviously from my repsonse I did not pick up on the sarcasm in the piece. (Perhaps I missed it because I believed that, up to that point, it was a serious piece. Dunno. I think turning 40 is already slowing me old brain down...) Whatever the case, I enjoyed your piece and was glad to see someone else was thinking about these things as much as I was.

I couldn't agree more, either. From the get-go, we should, as Patton so eloquently put it, "We are going to twist his (the enemy's) balls and kick the living shit out of him all of the time... The harder WE push, the more Germans we will kill. The more Germans we kill, the fewer of our men will be killed. Pushing means fewer casualties. I want you all to remember that." But we didn't and we've suffered for it. We didn't push; we weren't a bigger, meaner and dirtier bastard than the other bastard. (I think I'm paraphrasing Patton there, too.) Instead, we did "hearts and minds" and this, IMHO, is what it's reaped.

But all that's a lot of woulda, coulda and shouldas that's best left to Monday morning quarterbacks.

I don't believe it's possible that we re-invade Iraq (as I've heard some of my friends suggest); it would be far too costly. Other steps are clearly needed: curfews strictly enforced, disarming the militias, clearing mosques of weapons caches, securing recruiting centers, and more. And yes, a more severe and deadly responses and military actions are needed to wrest control back on the side of the good guys.

Peter F..Your prescription ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Peter F..Your prescription would drive most of the Iraqis out of Iraq...

steve,no. Kerry ... (Below threshold)


no. Kerry has always been a "cut and run" candidate.

I'm flying from Houst... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

I'm flying from Houston to Dallas...On the way a storm comes up...

The point is...someway, somehow, I'll still get to Houston. Not Okinawa.

Houston, we have a problem.


Kerry's solution of getting... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Kerry's solution of getting more Western nations to shoulder the burden wouldn't have worked. McCain 's of 100,000 additional troops without a draft is undoable ..Unfortunately all the options, even Peter F's, of reverting to 'the bad cop' role are poor options..This is what a quagmire is afterall.

LOL Sean, Caught m... (Below threshold)


Sean, Caught me making a mistake. I meant to Dallas, my fingers developed a mind of their own.

Chip & Sean...it's still th... (Below threshold)

Chip & Sean...it's still the perfect analogy (with or without "Dallas"). "Staying the course" was ALWAYS intended to mean "Finish the job!!"

Kerry wanted (and WANTS) us to get out now...immediately!! As does most of the Dim Party. They don't care about finishing the job...or the men & women who sacrificed getting this far along towards our goal!!

Justrand...Sound reasonable... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Justrand...Sound reasonable to me..except if we could, finish the job..don't you think we would have finished it by now?.'Stand down when they stand up' is pretty wild-eyed I believe, and so far has been a failure.. I think eventually if we are going 'to finish the job' we are going to have to bring in the UN, talk to Syria and Iran and the insurgents or at least the less intractable terrorists, if you will..blah, blah.(all the things the Bush administration especially Cheney has been violently opposed to). 'Cut and run' in comparison will almost look like an palatable option.

Steve Crickmore: "I thin... (Below threshold)

Steve Crickmore: "I think eventually if we are going 'to finish the job' we are going to have to bring in the UN"

Bring in the UN? *sigh*...I guess you're right, what with the Marx Brothers AND the Three Stooges being dead!

I'm kidding about the Marx Brothers...but then you were kidding about the U.N. Right?

Unfortunately all the op... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Unfortunately all the options, even Peter F's, of reverting to 'the bad cop' role are poor options.

There are no good options in war; only less desirable ones.

And one of those includes immediate withdrawl.

Sean, The point is... (Below threshold)


The point is...someway, somehow, I'll still get to Houston. Not Okinawa.

Or Iraq, for that matter, right Chip? But that's good. As you douchebag in chief contuinually reindds us, this is the most important battle of our generation. And we need brave young men like you to fight it from the safety of your living room!

Support our Right Wing Bloggers! (I have a little ribbon magnet for your cars. Just leave your e0mail address.)

Justrand..I realise it is a... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Justrand..I realise it is a helluva climbdown..but so was ditching 'stay the course' even if only the soundbite. Just read this article by a well-known Scottish liberal politician(not to me) but he, Sir Menzies Campbell does not surprisingly advocate this in today's Independent The Arab League Nations would be an idea to..I know they are just as feeble..This is all face-saving anyway. Bush still thinks he can win unilateratally with a little help from the British or just. But I think the USA wanted a permanent base in Iraq and I believe, they now feel it's not going to happen.

A simple question for the w... (Below threshold)

A simple question for the wingster nuts.

Was Bush for staying the course before he wasn't for staying the course?

I know I've heard somebody somewhere in the past making fun of someone for saying something similar. Hmmmmm. Just wondering.

Hugh..."Stay the course" tu... (Below threshold)

Hugh..."Stay the course" turned out to be too complicated for the Leftists.

"stay the course" is actually just a variation of "HOLD FAST!"

But Leftists have NO IDEA how to do that!! (at least not in the face of the enemy!)

I'm actually glad the Prez is going to spell it out now:
"We are going to succeed in stabilizing Iraq politically, and in killing the dumb sumbitches who are in country trying to kill us!!"

THAT is "the course".

"astigafa" glad you liked i... (Below threshold)

"astigafa" glad you liked it. (wink wink)






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