Bush: We Can Succeed In Iraq
Some days, there is no need to portray the mental illness permeating the mind of George W. Bush any better than letting his words speak for themselves.
The Iraqi government has made only mixed progress toward fulfilling goals for political, military and economic reform, but President Bush on Thursday said he sees “cause for optimism” in its efforts.
Several days after a National Intelligence Council report stated that the Iraqis would fail to meet any of the benchmarks set for them by Bush when he announced his escalation, Bush simply moved the yardsticks and came out with his own assessment that the Iraqis were doing so-so, not failing. He also repeated his pleas that Congress needs to wait until September, and that we can't leave Iraq because it will give the terrorists a safe haven, like the one he has already given them in Waziristan.
At a time when Bush and his military advisors say the chief threat in Iraq is Al Qaeda, contrary to what his intelligence community says, Petraeus raids a Shiite neighborhood this morning looking for Shiite militias tied to Iran instead of going after Al Qaeda in Iraq. In the process, Petraeus wins the hearts and minds by killing 19 Iraqis when his helicopters attack houses and cars. If Bush and the military really believe that Al Qaeda in Iraq is the chief threat we face, then why are we attacking civilian neighborhoods in Shiite areas? One can only conclude that Bush and Petraeus feel that sufficient progress have been made against Al Qaeda in Iraq to allow our forces to focus on Shiite militias allegedly tied to Iran, yet the Iraqis themselves may question exactly how Bush defines success in Iraq.
Bush also said today he will veto any attempt by Congress to withdraw troops, meaning that he would veto the 2008 defense budget bill if it came to him with mission change or redeployment language, or a defunding of combat operations after the 2008 fiscal year. That assumes his GOP supporters in the Senate wouldn't first stop the budget from getting to a vote as McConnell signalled yesterday. As I said yesterday, it is better for Harry Reid to schedule a few more votes between now and the August recess to show the GOP voting in support of a 26% president and a failing meatgrinder policy, and against the troops and the public. And then after those votes fail, Reid should walk away from any further work on the 2008 defense budget until after the GOP goes home to face their constituents on the summer recess. Let the GOP explain in their home districts why they are willing to keep rubber stamping war without end, while Democrats work the message machine during the recess.
Given how Bush and Rove skunked the Democrats during the 2002 summer recess to sell this war in the first place, it would be perfect political justice to undo that travesty during the summer recess of 2007.