"Well, I've been talking about a change in tactics ever since I — ever since we went in, because the role of the commander in chief is to say to our generals, `You adjust to the enemy on the battlefield.'"
--Bush today, telling us that he, not the country went to war, and runs it, not the generals.
US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and General George Casey said today that Iraq had agreed to lay out a timeline by the end of this year to stabilize its country within 12-18 months. It was three months ago that Casey said Iraq would control its own country in 12-18 months. Khalilzad and Casey badmouthed Syria and Iran about not being helpful, but we haven’t opened a direct dialogue with either country since the war started, nor have we committed sufficient forces to seal the country’s borders either. So both Casey and Khalilzad should STFU until we do those things first.
For its part, the White House doomed vulnerable GOP incumbents this morning when it said there would be no policy shift over Iraq, with Bush incredibly now telling the generals that they should adjust to the enemy rather than ask him for more troops.
GOP senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who just handed the constitution to George W. Bush for shredding in the detainee treatment bill, now is upset with how the war is going:
"We're on the verge of chaos, and the current plan is not working," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said in an Associated Press interview. U.S. and Iraqi officials should be held accountable for the lack of progress, said Graham, a Republican who is a frequent critic of the administration's policies.
Asked who in particular should be held accountable _ Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, perhaps, or the generals leading the war _ Graham said: "All of them. It's their job to come up with a game plan" to end the violence.Note that it isn’t the president’s fault.
Yesterday’s Gallup poll for USAT finds that voters are more focused on national issues, specifically the war and an economy that has left them behind, than in any previous congressional election. Fifty-eight percent of those polled say the war was a mistake. The GOP isn’t even making an issue of the supposedly good economy, probably because the vast majority of the country doesn’t see any benefits from the Bush economy.
A new Mason-Dixon poll in eight key states for MSNBC/McClatchy finds that Democrats are within striking distance of taking the Senate. As for the House, several academics told the Post that a Democratic pickup of between 22 and 29 would seem likely.
The Los Angeles Times reports this morning that a major GOP effort to attract more African Americans and Latinos into the part is in danger of failing over the far right’s security-only immigration legislation that Bush is set to sign with fanfare this week, and the administration’s failed promises to deliver more government money to church-based social services.