Wednesday :: Dec 14, 2005

Bush Admits Iraq Intelligence Was Faulty

by Steve

As Pessimist noted below, Bush continued his walkback towards reality today on Iraq when he stated once again that the Iraq prewar intelligence was wrong, and that he bore responsibility for going to war with faulty intelligence. I should point out that not all of the intelligence was wrong, just the intelligence that Bush wanted to pay attention to.

No, he is not admitting the policy was wrong. With this renewed mea culpa of sorts, Bush is hoping to bury his administration's own role in manipulating and fabricating intelligence to sell the country on the war. Yet if the intelligence was wrong, then can we presume that those in the administration involved in that faulty intelligence that are still around will be booted?

This still leaves open the question of how he screwed up the occupation so badly, but that mea culpa will have to wait for another day and another scapegoat. But this does shut up once and for all Dick Cheney and the others who still claim the intelligence may still be proven to be right.

He also laid out a definition for "victory" in Iraq:

"Victory will be achieved by meeting certain objectives: when the terrorists and Saddamists can no longer threaten Iraq’s democracy, when the Iraqi security forces can protect their own people, and when Iraq is not a safe haven for terrorists to plot attacks against our country,” he said. “These objectives, not timetables set by politicians in Washington, will drive our force levels in Iraq."

Now we can quibble about how the “safe haven for terrorists” criterion is so open-ended that it is irrelevant, but remember that a significant troop withdrawal isn’t precluded under this definition of victory. In other words, it is possible for Bush to withdraw troops next year without yet declaring victory. In fact, I could argue that Bush just set the necessary predicate for a significant retrenchment to safe bases after the election this week, to be followed by a withdrawal next year, leaving behind smaller anti-terror forces supported by the Air Force for the next several years.

Make no mistake; for a man who doesn't read polls, these speeches by Bush are aimed here at home with two goals in mind. They are designed to not only turn around his horrid poll numbers on Iraq, but to also allow him to turn the page from how we got into the war towards a discussion on how we should credit him for getting out of Iraq with a "victory." Those attempts may work until Bush's Deputy Chief of Staff gets indicted for his role in the cover-up and disinformation effort.

Steve :: 12:41 PM :: Comments (69) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!