1 comment May 25th, 2007at 11:56am Posted by Eli

William Arkin notices an interesting tidbit, but draws an inexplicable conclusion from it:

Yesterday was the true beginning of the end of the war in Iraq, with the administration signaling its readiness to begin withdrawal of U.S. forces and to adopt the recommendations of the once-rejected Iraq Study Group.

President Bush, speaking at a White House news conference, spoke bluntly of a “bloody” August as Iraqi insurgents seek to influence the American political debate. The president’s prediction was not just a warning to the American people; it was also a statement that the administration is actually considering the very timetable that it has so vociferously argued against.

The hope — the hope — is that the surge will have stabilized the country by fall and that the Iraqi government will have reached a political settlement to end sectarian fighting. But the signals yesterday were also unmistakable: If momentum doesn’t shift, the administration is prepared to abandon the war.

The president said that August could be “a tough month, because, you see, what they’re going to try to do is kill as many innocent people as they can to try to influence the debate here at home…. It could be a bloody, it could be a very difficult August.”


For the first time the president said that once the “surge” had improved security in the Iraqi capital, he intended to adopt the recommendations of the 2006 Iraq Study Group and begin the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from the country. The first step, he said, would be to shift U.S. troops from a combat to supporting and training role.

“I would like to see us in a different configuration at some point in time in Iraq,” he said, saying that U.S. Special Forces would “chase down” Al Qaeda, but that Iraqi military and police forces would take on the other security tasks.

I understand where Arkin is coming from, but I think he’s connecting the wrong dots. Bush is not trying to pave the way for ISG-style semi-withdrawal, he’s pre-emptively defending the “surge.” Indeed, if you follow the link to the press conference, you will see that Bush’s comments about a bloody August are actually in response to a reporter’s question about whether Iraqi insurgents will try to ensure that Petraeus’s All-Important September Progress Report on the surge is as negative as possible.

Yes, one could draw the logical conclusion that if we can write off the violence as just more “death throes,” then we can make the case that the White House can say “Mission Accomplished – no really, we mean it this time!” and start withdrawing troops… But Dubya does not deal in logical conclusions – he deals in ass-covering and never admitting mistakes, and that’s all this is about. So that come September when Iraq looks even chaotic and dangerous than it does now, he can say that it just proves the terrorists’ desperation, and we need to stay the course for just one more Friedman Unit to finish mopping them up.

Plan B is not to make sure that Plan A works; Plan B is to keep repeating that Plan A is working, and hope that the American people believe it. That Plan B will work about as well as Plan A.

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iraq,Media,Politics,War

1 Comment

  • 1. elmo  |  May 25th, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    Come September this presidency could be in it’s last throes…

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