Bush claims critics wrong about Iraq

President Bush took his critics to task Saturday for using the poor marks the Iraqi government received on a progress report this week as reason to argue that the war is lost.’

Bush acknowledged the Iraqis received “unsatisfactory” marks on eight benchmarks, including failure to prepare for local elections or to pass a law to share oil revenues among Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. But the president said “satisfactory” grades the Iraqis received in eight other areas — like providing three Iraqi brigades for the military offensive under way and providing $10 billion of their money for reconstruction — were cause for optimism.

“Our strategy is built on the premise that progress on security will pave the way for political progress,” Bush said in his weekly radio address. “This report shows that conditions can change, progress can be made, and the fight in Iraq can be won.”

He said the last of more than 20,000 additional troops he ordered to Iraq just recently arrived, and U.S. troops deserve more time to carry out the offensive.

“Changing the conditions in Iraq is difficult, and it can be done,” he said. “The best way to start bringing these good men and women home is to make sure the surge succeeds.”

In the Democratic response to Bush’s radio address, Brandon Friedman, a former infantry officer in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, said it’s past time for a transition to diplomatic efforts in Iraq that Democrats have long demanded.

“The fact is, the Iraq war has kept us from devoting assets we need to fight terrorists worldwide — as evidenced by the fact that Osama bin Laden is still on the loose and al-Qaida has been able to rebuild,” Friedman said. “We need an effective offensive strategy that takes the fight to our real enemies abroad. And the best way to do that is to get our troops out of the middle of this civil war in Iraq.”

On Friday, two of the Senate’s most respected Republicans — John Warner of Virginia and Richard Lugar of Indiana — cast aside Bush’s pleas for patience on Iraq and proposed legislation demanding a new strategy by mid-October to restrict the mission of U.S. troops.

Their measure would require Bush to submit by Oct. 16 a plan to “transition U.S. combat forces from policing the civil strife or sectarian violence in Iraq” to a narrow set of missions: protecting Iraqi borders, targeting terrorists, protecting U.S. assets and training Iraqi forces. The bill suggests the plan be ready for implementation by next year.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid balked at the proposal because it would not require Bush to implement the strategy. He said he prefers legislation the Senate will vote on next week that would order combat troops out of Iraq by next spring.

Bush spokesman Tony Fratto said the White House would review the Warner-Lugar measure. “But we believe the new way forward strategy — which became fully operational less than a month ago — deserves the time to succeed,” he said.

Through top aides and in private meetings and phone calls, Bush has repeatedly asked Congress to hold off demanding change until September, when the top U.S. commander, Gen. David Petraeus, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, deliver a fresh assessment of progress.

The Warner-Lugar proposal came as the Pentagon conceded a decreasing number of Iraqi battalions are able to operate on their own.

At a news conference Friday, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace, said the number of battle-ready Iraqi battalions able to fight independently has dropped from 10 to six in recent months despite an increase in U.S. training efforts. Pace said the readiness of the Iraqi fighting units was not an issue to be “overly concerned” about because the problem was partly attributable to losses in the field.

Comments

  1. SEAL

    Thanx JoyfulC for putting into the right words what I have been trying to say all along. Good analogy and summerization.

    When we finally give it up and pull out of the combat, the meanest toughest most religious SOB will emerge as the next ruler of Iraq no matter what we do. Right now that looks like Sadr.

    He is a powerful and popular shiite cleric, has the backing of Iran, and a force of loyalist that have been training in Iran large enough to be called an army.

    He is causing as much trouble as he can designed to disrupt the political process and cause the present government to fail. He has death squads that are systematically killing off those sunni’s that would be a problem to his takeover.

    Once we leave and he unleashes his forces [equipted with the latest and greatest Iranian weapons], he will have the backing of just about every shiite in the country that just can’t wait to get even, and the blood will flow for a while until the sunni’s stop resisting. They fear him a hell of a lot more than they fear us. [They respect our firepower but they do not fear us.]

    Sadr will have the country under control in about 6 months and Cheney can forget about his oil contract. This is my prediction unless something drastic happens to change conditions.

  2. JoyfulC

    If security is what Iraqis need, then why was it necessary to remove Saddam Hussein? For the overwhelming majority of Iraqis, Saddam provided security. As Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “if you want total security, go to prison…” Sure, Saddam was a brutal dictator, but is there any doubt at this point that if there truly existed any unified desire among the Iraqi people for democracy, they couldn’t have risen up and taken it themselves?

    But that didn’t happen. So what can we conclude? Certainly not that Saddam was adored by most Iraqis — obviously he was despised (in spite of the near idol-worship bestowed upon him, probably as a way of keeping him mollified). No, I think the most accurate conclusion is that, for as much as Saddam was despised and feared, Iraqis feared other elements among themselves even more. Perhaps they were wise enough to realize that other factions were too evenly matched, and that power struggles between them would be disastrous.

    When the US came along and created a power vacuum in Iraq, it unleashed all these factions that somehow Saddam was able to keep under control. The invasion of Iraq opened Pandora’s box.

    Blaming the Iraqis for failing to whip the country back into shape at this point is not only wrong-headed, it’s cruel. Throwing more of the same failed strategy at Iraq only serves to keep things destabilized there. We’ve brought about a no-win situation in Iraq in that we’ve created the ideal circumstances in which the most brutal and extremist regime will surely prevail — because that’s what it’s going to take to emerge victorious — a regime much worse, and probably much less friendly to Western interests, than Saddam’s.

    Congratulations to us.

  3. Carl Nemo

    Hi jay_spaan…

    Saddam started a trend relative to the Euro’s for oil issue, but now it’s a fact. Neither the arab countries, nor Russia will accept American dollars for their oil. Possibly Chavez has done the same too regardless of being in South America. Saddam’s motives were different in that he did so to irritate whereas the recent change in accepted currency has to do with exchange rates. The Euro has appreciated 35 percent against the U.S. dollar. As Vladimir Putin said when they did their conversion to Euro’s; why should they be accepting payment for oil in a currency that’s ever-depreciating in value. It makes sense to me from business standpoint.

    The American dollar declined against 56 world currencies in 2006, both major and minor. It’s beginning to take a swan dive into oblivion and soon will no longer be the worlds reserve currency following the same path as the once mighty British Pound which was the worlds reserve currency for several hundred years.

    Although some people might be impressed with their DOW based returns it was the worst performing of all major world stock markets in 2006 and no doubt in 2007. China is soon to become the worlds third largest economic power surpassing Germany during 2007.

    Bushco has succeeded into turning America into his AmeriKa, with he, Generalissimo Bush in charge of the worlds largest “Banana Republic” except we don’t even have bananas to export…?! :))

    The largest exports from the Ports of Los Angeles and New York is scrap metal and cardboard?! Our main industry is exporting the weapons of war courtesy of Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, Raytheon, L3 Communications, and a host of these camp-following free-booters who’s main mission is to make bucks off warfare; i.e, the business of killing people.

    Our annual trade deficit is approaching one trillion dollars annually; i.e, we are nation of “feedlot” consumers that produce nothing in terms of consumer based goods at this point in history. We export our consumeristic detritus; ie., scrap and ripped up cardboard boxes from the stuff we bought from China and elsewhere.

    It’s say it’s the “twilights last gleaming” for this once great nation. Whatever money this nation is making is going into the pockets of the “few”, without benefit to the many;i.e, “we the people”!

    Carl Nemo **==

  4. Bill Jonke

    I don’t think Bush has any buddies; sociopaths usually don’t.

    All he has is a panel of opportunists. There’s a temporary symbiotic relationship there. He uses them and they use him, and when HIS usefulness of them diminishes, he drops them.

    They all deserve each other.

  5. Donnat

    It was always about oil. Cheney will keep the stick to Bush’s back until he gets what he wants for his and his buddies’ personal profit, in the meantime, Bush will keep putting his lies out there and the faithful 33%ers will keep repeating them as gospel.

    Lunacy follows lunacy, what does anyone expect differently from this bunch of tools and fools?

    Donnat

  6. Steve Horn

    It is a rare moment in history when the stupid become a danger to anyone other than themselves. This is one of those rare moments. Supported by homo-phobes and those who feel it’s fine to kill doctors who perform legal medical procedures Bush is helping to demonstrate just how low this nation can go. Hiding behind the Bibles they’ve probably never read (I’m basing that on their behavior versus how Christ tells us to live) they claim the moral high ground –

    “Pathetic” would be high praise for these folks …

    Peace

    Steve

    By the way, looking at that picture of Bush, that is not the face of evil, that’s the face of stupid. “Evil” wouldn’t look like he’s trying to suck corn out of his dentures. To look into the face of evil, one must have Dick Cheney in front of them.

  7. Sandra Price

    I agree Jay, the White House has used the old ‘boy cries wolf’ routine and Americans are tired of the threats and want a pleasant summer before the fit hits the shan of the election campaigns begin.

    If you are new to CHB, let me welcome you.

  8. jay_spaan_sr

    Listen to Tony Snow and Monkey Boy and they have already said what will get us out of Iraq. “Iraq has shown progress working on oil distribution”. Read Azzaman, the Iraq newspaper, and you will see the dispute is over privatization of their oil. We will partially leave Iraq after they agree to give their oil to BP and Exxon. Plain and simple. Why did we invade? Saddam changed the currency for oil exchange from U.S. dollars to Euro. We blew them up 1 1/2 years later. The US dollar is backed by ‘oil dollar exchange’ since Nixon made a deal with OPEC and quit backing the dollar with gold. Investigate, wake-up and get REALLY SCARED America.

  9. Bluesman2007

    Of course everyone’s wrong but Bush. What else is new. Look in the dictionary under “solipsistic” and you’ll find the definition is George Bush. Why do we even bother talking about it any more? It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion, no?