Thursday, January 11, 2007
It all sounds just so familiar...
Mr Bush said there would be violence in Iraq "for many years" and that US troops would only be able to withdraw as local forces gained competence.So when did Bush talk about these details in his Iraq strategy, last night or... November 30, 2005? If you guessed the latter, grab a cookie and pat yourself on the back. If you guessed the former, well, nobody's going to hold it against you for being wrong since Bush's new initiative for Iraq is nothing but the same old crap with a little saber rattling towards Iran and Syria thrown in for good measure.
"These decisions about troop levels will be driven by the conditions on the ground in Iraq and the good judgement of our commanders, not by artificial timetables set by politicians in Washington," he said.
Mr Bush said victory would come "when the terrorists and Saddamists can no longer threaten Iraq's democracy, when the Iraqi security forces can provide for the safety of their own citizens, and when Iraq is not a safe-haven for terrorists to plot new attacks on our nation".
This was a partial redefinition of what victory might be, and potentially highly significant, our correspondent says.
Mr Bush also openly acknowledged that there had been "some setbacks in standing up a capable Iraqi security force, and their performance is still uneven in some areas".
But Iraqi forces were regaining control of the country and training programmes had been improved, he said.
Withdrawing US troops before they had accomplished their mission would send the wrong message to the insurgents, Mr Bush added.
"America will not run in the face of car bombers and assassins so long as I am your commander-in-chief," he said.
The BBC article I quoted from also notes that in November, 2005, we had more than 155,000 troops in Iraq. Today, before Bush's surge, we have 132,000 troops. So Bush is pushing the troop levels upto a number that wasn't enough less than two years ago, so I can't fathom why it would be enough now. And besides his speech from 2005, Bush has been harping about improving Iraq's military since the 2004 election. More than two years on Bush is still talking about improving Iraq's military as being a key for victory. When is somebody in the White House Press Corps going to develop the testicular fortitude the ask Tony Snow, "Uh, how come we keep hearing this again and again? Why hasn't the Iraqi military made progress? What is Bush's plan to build the Iraq military?"
I'd surely love to hear an answer to that last question.