Monday, September 03, 2007

Bush goes to Anbar, part 2: You can see what the future of Iraq can look like

The White House finally provides some transcripts of Bush in Iraq. This one is only partial, starting mid-sentence as he talks about how Anbar is no longer such a shithole. “Anbar is a really different place,” he said. “The level of violence is down,” he said, and while the earlier section of the talk is missing, I’m pretty sure he isn’t referring to the period when American forces in Anbar put Fallujah to siege, bombed it while we prevented its male population from escaping, and used white phosphorus to burn their skin off.

He said that Maliki, Talabani etc are “here in Anbar because they know the success of a free Iraq depends on the national government’s support from the bottom up.” No, they’re in Anbar because you ordered them, at short notice, to come dance attendance on you. He continued, “They know what I know: that when you have bottom-up reconciliation like you’re seeing here in Anbar, it’ll begin to translate into central government action.” I’m not sure I’m following the civics lecture on How A Bill Becomes a Law (Iraq Version).

He does indeed think that 6 hours at the al-Assad Air Base tells him exactly what Iraq is like: “When you stand on the ground here in Anbar and hear from the people who live here, you can see what the future of Iraq can look like.”

Some of those 6 hours were spent speaking to the troops. He told them, “I want you to tell your families the Commander-in-Chief stopped by to say hello”.

IN OTHER WORDS: “In Anbar you’re seeing firsthand the dramatic differences that can come when the Iraqis are more secure. In other words, you’re seeing success.”

IN OTHER WORDS, WITH CONDESCENSION AND A HOOAH: “But I want to tell you this about the decision -- about my decision about troop levels. Those decisions will be based on a calm assessment by our military commanders on the conditions on the ground -- not a nervous reaction by Washington politicians to poll results in the media. (Hooah.) In other words, when we begin to draw down troops from Iraq, it will be from a position of strength and success, not from a position of fear and failure.”

You keep hearing about how members of Congress shouldn’t undermine the morale of the troops. Should Bush really be telling the troops, to their face, that Washington is full of nervous, poll-driven politicians?

Dana Perino makes some friends.

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