Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
You write the headline

President Bush gave his address to the nation tonight on the subject of his "way forward" in Iraq. My headline:

Bush: Americans can now unite as 3% of troops may come home

Bush's speech tonight was almost surreal. Right off the top, having George W. Bush warn ominously of shadowy people who want to topple the government of Iraq must have elicited a chuckle or two from the shadowy neocons around him. He then went on to argue that a successful Iraq will make America safter because the terrorists we drew there in the first place by toppling the government of Iraq and invading the country will be stopped from toppling the government. But he also admits that the Iraqi government -- which is essentially a front for one of the numerous Shiite militias wrecking the country and which may be a client of Iran -- hasn't even met its own benchmarks, and that the "terrorist" enemy is a grave threat -- one that again, we created by invading Iraq.

He argues that Americans should "come together" to support his strategy on the basis of the apparently wholly owned by David Petraeus plan of reducing U.S. forces in Iraq by some 5,700 troops, when the surge alone added more than 30,000 troops to Baghdad and Anbar Province. So this 3 percent reduction is a reason to unite? Toward the end of his speech, Dubya threw out this gem: "it's not too late to support our troops in a fight they can win." Wow. That's rich. Dear, Americans DO support the troops. It's their mission, which comes from the politician in charge of them, namely YOU, Mr. President, that the majority of Americans do not support.

As Chris Matthews -- who has been a booster of this president in the past -- said tonight, the fact of the troops being in Iraq is not a reason to support the mission in Iraq. The mission comes from the president. It's his policy, not General Petraeus' and not the troops'. They carry out HIS policy, and it's that policy that Bush must defend.

And as for calling for Americans to "come together," Bushie, you're about six years too late.

Bush also mentioned that there are 36 countries fighting with us in Iraq. To quote Chris Matthews again, who are these people? They sure are quiet! Where are their troops? Their patrols?

Bush is clearly living in a world of his own.

But perhaps the most eerie thing about Bush's speech was his explication of the evolving, and apparently eternal -- if George W. Bush has his way -- role of U.S. troops in Iraq. He talked about a mission that would go from fighting, to training, to "overwatching" Iraqi troops, to essentially remaining in Iraq for generations to come -- sort of an overseer of a client nation we will never quite leave alone. But what a client! Iraq isn't even clearly a country capable or interested in being an ally of the United States. The Sunnis, whom we ran out of the Army, only want us there to keep the Shia, whom we put in place, from slaughtering them. But for that, they'd probably just as soon be down with al-Qaida. The Shiites hate us, but they find us occasionally useful for killing Sunni Baathists they don't like. The Kurds just want out of the country.

In George Bush's conception, the troops, not the president, own the war. The reason to remain in Iraq is because the troops are in Iraq. And the American people

I think it's clear that George W. Bush is no longer dealing with reality. He has entered an hermetically sealed bubble from which he will never emerge.

Here's the transcript of the president's remarks, and here's the transcript of the Democratic response by Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island.

Related: Bush also acknowledge the following setback: the murder of a prominent Sunni cleric who had become important to the U.S.

Meanwhile, why did John Edwards buy that wierd advertisement instead of just booking time on the networks?

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posted by JReid @ 9:50 PM  
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