President Bush (AP)Today we are news-trackers, hot on the trail of tomorrow's Page One, prime-time news.

And it appears that tomorrow's news may be a glimmer of good news at last for conservative Republicans who have been bitterly disappointed with what they concede, mostly in private, but occasionally in public, is the overwhelming failure of the Bush presidency: The misconduct of the Iraq war, a series of political and intelligence leadership blunders that has trapped America's brave, volunteer military in a combat mission that is not yet lost, but may never be won.

Evidence has surfaced, not on Page One or in prime time, but on page A15, the op-ed page of the May 22 edition of The Washington Post, that President Bush is reportedly working, belatedly but finally, to come up with a post-surge strategy, the so-called Plan B the administration hadn't gotten around to devising.

Post columnist David Ignatius, who is of the school that prefers hard reporting to soft punditry, wrote of this new development after talking with senior administration officials who now clearly want to get out the word that they have begun discussing what to do after the so-called surge of more than 20,000 combat troops. Soon the news will make its way to the 24/7 cable news. The surge was supposed to last just a few months, to see if it was possible to secure, at least, Baghdad.

Time-out: You are probably thinking that commons sense should have dictated that a Plan B had to be developed months, if not years. ago. You are of course right, but you are of course not president. The fact that Bush never ordered it has infuriated many former generals, conservative think-tank experts and members of Congress who supported Bush in two elections.

"The new policy would focus on training and advising Iraqi troops rather than the broader goal of achieving a political reconciliation in Iraq, which senior officials recognize may be unachievable within the time available," Ignatius wrote. "The revamped policy, as outlined by senior administration officials, would be premised on the idea that, as the current surge of U.S. troops succeeds in reducing sectarian violence, America's role will be increasingly to help prepare the Iraqi military to take greater responsibility for securing the country."

Time-out Again: You are probably thinking that training Iraqi troops to take over was what we've been told was already America's main effort in Iraq. You are of course right, but by now you know that Page One and prime-time news scoops are not always all that new. Journalists are just pleased to have been leaked upon.

New military brainpower has been infused into a White House bunker that had gone sadly stale. Bush recently named a White House overseer of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars — three-star Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, who had been quite skeptical of the surge idea, had urged that Iraqis needed to assume greater responsibility for securing their country.

And you don't have to be a journalist scribbling down whispered leaks to get informative hard-line news insights. A panel of retired generals offered tough but thoughtful analysis on CNN's "This Week at War" on May 19, especially on the importance of insisting that Iraq's military assume the lead security responsibility.

"I think it's absolutely mandatory that we do that," said retired four-star Gen. George Joulwan, former supreme allied commander of NATO. "I think we've had too much of a U.S. face on this. … We should have done this six months after we entered after the fall of Baghdad. … It's about time that the Iraqis step forward. We need to facilitate that."

To which Lt. Gen. William Odom, a former director of the National Security Agency, interjected a bottom-line reality that brought the unrelenting tensions of Iraq's civil war home to Americans: "We're not dealing with Iraqis. We're sitting on top of several sides in multiple civil wars in Iraq. So asking the Iraqis to step up is sort of like asking will the Confederates and Union leaders step up to a convention that the British have called that we ought to stop fighting after Gettysburg."

That seems to be what one of Ignatius' sources was saying: "'Sectarian violence is not a problem we can fix,' said one senior official. 'The Iraqi government needs to show that it can take control of the capital.' "

So the good news — if anything can be called "good" in this badly bungled Iraq operation — is that Team Bush's new whisperers and leakers may have come around to the insights of the old generals. Hopefully, they finally get it.

(Martin Schram writes political analysis for Scripps Howard News Service. E-mail him at martin.schram(at)


  1. So, the conservatives really expected a Plan B before the surge, huh? Did they really think that would come from the same dunce who took us into war in 2003, expecting it to be a cakewalk? The lemmings will follow their leader right over the cliff.


  2. I find your comments about Obama interesting. Rarely will I reveal my bias or sentiments concerning a candidate on a public forum, but the more I listen to Obama, and try to sense his drift, I feel somewhat comfortable that he will try to deliver the goods to the American people!

    I like the fact he’s lean, fit, and quick-thinking in tight situations. He has a great basso, take-charge, speaking voice too. I don’t detect lies and obfuscation on his part in order to dodge an issue or questions. I realize he’s not perfect, but none of them are so. I’m beginning to think that Obama is about as clean a poltician that we can hope to get in this next election cycle. The mere fact he’s not a long-term, entrenched, “one of those guys” pol is actually a credit.

    I don’t want “experienced corruption” sitting in the Presidency of the United States. If anything I fear for him because the MIC/CIA cabal might do a JFK sanction on him in time; i.e., if he’s elected. If he’s smart he’l dump the Secret Service and get the U.S. Marshal’s service and/or the military to protect him once elected. Anyway at this point in time I’m leaning towards Obama unless future input indicates he’s got issues.

    Nemo **==

  3. that the power rests with government instead of the people. That must change. Otherwise, those currently in control of government may do as they please.

    Obama understands this and is the only person in the hunt with the message that “we together” must take back the nation. Reminisent of Bobby Kennedy. The other candidates still offer that they will be the better government leader but it will be the same government. I think the political establishment is sorely underestimating the appeal Obama’s message has for the majority that will actually decide the 2008 election. The hurdle, of course is for Obama to capture the nomination.

    Whether Obama is good or bad, capable or not, I do not yet know. But he sure as hell has the right message. The American people want the power back and he is offering it to them. His campaign is inspiration for many people.

  4. Bush might seem as a failure in the eyes of the un-washed masses; i.e., the electorate, but in the eyes of the corporatist M.I.Complex and “oil patch” guys he’s virtually “El Cid”, a Christlike warrior that ensures the status quo for ages to come for these incredibly wealthy domestic and planetary oligarchs.

    They are elitists to the core, we are the “groundlings”, they are the “predators”, and we be the “prey”…! It’s as simple as that!
    I always make reference to what dubya said to a citizen on his first campaign trail. The guy asked him some pertinent questions, and it evidently irritated him, so Mr. Snarky, snappishly replied…”who cares what you think”, when the guy made mention he was a reporter then dubya snapped “just get it right”…! So people have to get it in their heads, when he’s walking about, looking over the podium he see’s us all as inferiors, almost “useless eaters” using a Kissingerian term for the starving in Africa. Well not quite, we’ll only become useless if we quit paying taxes to fund their continuiing profligacy at our expense. : |

    Nemo **==

  5. The talk is the same, the ill-timed, poorly planned (or unplanned)strategy is the same. If Bush had served one day in combat, he’d know this.


  6. Since not one of the major news media has covered this, I thought I would share it:

    Items “e” and “g” under definitions are very interesting.

    The chimps poll numbers maybr down to 28%, or so, but people have to keep one thing in mind – the chimp don’t care.

    If there is another 9/11 like event the chimp will be in charge of all government branches, read it and weap.

    The chimp is not dead, or a lame duck, he is sneeky, a liar, and will do anything to remain in power.

    With the signing of this document, the 2008 election may not occur. This document gives him all the power to suspend our government, and there is nothing that can be done.

    Where are our elected officials who are supposed to be on top of things, and protecting us?

    Well one good thing may come out of this, most of us may meet in a concentration camp one of these days.

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