In an earlier post, we explained how Bush's failure to claim victory in Iraq wasted his actions. Now we see the opposite problem, as Biden recently claimed that victory in Iraq was one of Obama's greatest achievements. That claim was easy to ignore as just the most recent Biden gaffe, but now the WH press secretary, Gibbs, has double down on that claim.
Of course, everyone who has been paying attention knows that both Obama and Biden opposed the surge that led to the victory in Iraq.
This claim is a strategic mistakes, demonstrating several important Warrior Rules.
- Positions are paths, with a history, not a disconnected point. People have a memory. Anyone who has been paying attention remembers this history of Iraq, especially the fact that Obama campaigned and voted against the surge while McCain supported it. We don't live in Orwell's "1984" world where the state-controlled media can flush the past down the memory hole. There has to be a historical path that connects us to a new position or else we cannot claim it. (1.1 Position Paths).
- Claims cannot succeed unless others accept them. This can only happen if they see our claim on the position as more worthy than the claims of others. In this case, Bush and the Republicans have a better claim on victory in Iraq than the Obama and the Democrats. This comparison is automatically made by everyone when they think of this sitiation. If we don't think others will see the comparison the way we want, our claim will fail (8.2 Making Claims).
- Failed claims make our position worse. They degrade people's belief in our statements. In this case, both Biden and Gibbs make failed claims. The idea that Gibbs proposes that Obama "helped to bring about" victory in Iraq resulted from his "political pressure" requires a level of spin most people cannot accept. In making these claims, the administration is turning an American victory into a political defeat, which is silly (8.7.2 Abandoning Positions).
This is a mstake that Obama can quickly turn around by coming out and giving Bush credit for Iraq and admitting that he was wrong about the surge, showing both that he learns from the