Saturday, April 28, 2007

Watch Bush Pull Out of Iraq & Call It Staying

The latest Bush administration strategy has emerged. The White House is looking for a way to pull the troops out of Iraq while claiming it is committed to fighting on forever. Two articles in the New York Times show how the GOP will manage its newest doublethink. No. 1) “The White House Scales Back Talk of Iraq Progress” No. 2) “Bush and Congress Easing Tone of Debate on War Bill” We find out in article No. 1 how prescient CNN’s Michael Ware was when he said, “What General Petraeus is going to do in September is have a look at the strategy that they're using now…he’s merely going to say, we continue this and go forward or we need to look at other options.” After months of calling failure success and defeat progress, the White House suddenly says there will be no more talk about progress in Iraq until Petraeus hands down his determination in September. The NYT said, “The Bush administration will not try to assess whether the troop increase in Iraq is producing signs of political progress or greater security until September, and many of Mr. Bush’s top advisers now anticipate that any gains by then will be limited, according to senior administration officials.” The Bush administration is putting all its eggs in Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s basket. The NYT went on to say, “the Democrats say that if there is no measurable success by August, they believe several more Republicans will defect from Mr. Bush’s camp and vote for a staged pullout.” Measurable success means that it must be demonstrably clear Maliki has pulled together a viable government and that Maliki is firmly in charge. Everyone from General Petraeus to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates knows this is not going to happen in September or any time soon. In article No. 2 we find out that the Prez is willing to consider a pullout timetable as long as it’s not called a pullout timetable and as long as the Dems say it’s not binding. In this article, the NYT lede paragraph says, “With the $124 billion war spending bill, and its timetable for withdrawing American troops, headed for a presidential veto early next week, both President Bush and Democratic leaders yesterday toned down the talk of the last several weeks and hinted at a willingness to compromise.” Further on, the article says, “Charlie Black, a Republican strategist close to the administration, said if Democrats sent Mr. Bush a bill with nonbinding benchmarks in it, the president would have to consider it. ‘I don’t think he’ll accept anything that’s binding,’ Mr. Black said. ‘If they want to put something in there that says the Iraqis should do the following things by certain benchmarks, language that’s just advisory and nonbinding, I would think he’d have to look at it.’” Translation: President Bush is ready and willing to pull the troops out of Iraq if the Democrats agree that he is not pulling the troops out, and that in any case his strategies may not always have been right, but they’ve never been wrong. How far will Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV), House majority leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi go on this charade? Probably not very far. The surge in Iraq is not working, Maliki’s government is powerless, September isn’t far away and Repub politicians are looking at 2008 with dread. But what will the White House call a pullout that isn’t? The WH will probably say the Generals have concluded the Iraqi people want Iraq to go back to being a non-democratic state, they want the Americans out, and the US has always wanted the Iraqis to determine their own future, and oh, by the way, we won.


Barry Schwartz said...

It looks to me more as if Bush is saying, in a rhetorically deceptive way, that he is willing to consider a complete cave-in from the Democrats.

I don't know why one ought to imagine that Bush is seeking a way to draw down, or to save a remnant of the military, or to institute a draft, etc., when such predictions have proved themselves mistaken in the past. If Bush can only hang on until 2009 then he and Rush Limbaugh can blame the whole failure, every bit of it, on President Gore. Sure, in his heart Bush will know that it was he who failed--he knows he is an 'evil' little loser, that's why he is so anxious--but it is the reflection of himself in others’ faces that he obsesses about.

Barry Schwartz said...

See for other discussion of Bush's intentions, by David Kurtz.