Panic Mode Sets In
An unnamed administration official told the AP tonight that the Iraq status report Bush was expecting for September is being prepared this week, and according to the report the Iraqis are meeting none of the benchmarks that Bush expected of them in deciding to go with The Surge last winter instead of the ISG report recommendations.
Of more importance however is the comment that Bush’s decision point is no longer September, but now this week:
One likely result of the report will be a vastly accelerated debate among President Bush's top aides on withdrawing troops and scaling back the U.S. presence in Iraq.
The "pivot point" for addressing the matter will no longer be Sept. 15, as initially envisioned, when a full report on Bush's so-called "surge" plan is due, but instead will come this week when the interim mid-July assessment is released, the official said.
"The facts are not in question," the official told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because the draft is still under discussion. "The real question is how the White House proceeds with a post-surge strategy in light of the report."
It was just today that Tony Snow lied to the press when he denied that troop level reductions were being discussed now. Yet ABC News reports tonight that the administration is in panic mode over GOP defections. Despite doubts in many parts of the center-left blogosphere that the GOP would ever ditch Bush on Iraq, the White House seems to be worried about exactly that. Why else would they want to get out in front of framing the post-surge debate this early, unless they were worried that the Democrats would gain the upper hand in the next three weeks during the defense budget debate, before Congress went back to their constituents on summer recess?
So we are now talking openly about a “post-surge strategy”? Keep in mind that the decision to overrule his military advisors and do the surge was Bush’s decision and not recommended by the brass. The Iraq war is costing the country $10 billion a month, and Bush has just wasted another several hundred lives and $60 billion on his lab experiment against the advice of the military just because he was more worried about his manhood than he was about being commander in chief.