Bush Shows His Pinocchio Side
"Fuck Saddam, We're taking him out!"
--George W. Bush, March 2002
Maybe these live, unscripted media events aren't a good idea, Boss.
Bush, this morning at a press conference to demonstrate that he is in touch with the concerns of the American people, said that Iraq is not in a civil war. He said this at a time when a large majority of Americans say that Iraq is in a civil war. So much for showing your plugged-in side. Oh, and demonstrating his knack for alternate universe living, he also said that he didn't want war.
He also admitted the obvious: he has no intention of fully withdrawing troops from Iraq while he is in office, and will leave that mess and the blame for "losing Iraq" when they do to his successor.
Bush also continued to trumpet the success story of Tall Afar, as an example of how American forces have helped deliver freedom to an Iraqi town. Peter Baker of the Washington Post this morning says that Bush may want to pick another example.
As President Bush tells the tale, the battle for Tall Afar offers a case study in how U.S. and Iraqi forces working together can root out insurgents and restore stability. "The example of Tall Afar," he told an audience here Monday, "gives me confidence in our strategy."
Reports from the streets of Tall Afar, half a world away, offer a more complex story. U.S. forces last fall did drive out radicals who had brutalized the mid-size city near the Syrian border. But lately, residents say, the city has taken another dark turn. "The armed men are fewer," Nassir Sebti, 42, an air-conditioning mechanic, told a Washington Post interviewer Monday, "but the assassinations between Sunni and Shiites have increased."
A Washington Post employee interviewing residents of Tall Afar found continuing anxiety in the streets. "Al-Qaeda has started to come back again," said Jaafar al-Khawat, 33, a tailor. "They have started to kill Shiites and Sunnis who cooperate with the Americans. Last Wednesday, they killed a truck driver because he worked with the Americans."
Yasir al-Efri, 23, a law student at Mosul University, said al-Qaeda pamphlets began appearing on the biggest mosque in Tall Afar in the past two months claiming credit for attacks. "The Tall Afar mission failed," he said. "The city will turn back to how it was before the battle within two months. The Americans are busy putting cement barriers and barbed wire around their bases and no one is taking care of the infrastructure."
This is Bush’s idea of a success story: claim credit for some short-lived security, abandon reconstruction efforts, and pull your forces back to your safe permanent bases while Al Qaeda returns to haunt the towns, an Al Qaeda that wasn't there until Bush and Rummy let them into Iraq.
Image courtesy of MSNBC.com