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Bush talks nonsense about situation in Iraq
(Editorial, Minneapolis StarTribune, December 1, 2006)
When President Bush pronounced Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki "the right guy for Iraq" Thursday, it recalled Bush's infamous "heck of a job" comment about FEMA Director Michael Brown's incompetent response to Hurricane Katrina. Both comments say more about Bush than Brown or Al-Maliki: On Iraq, as on Katrina, Bush has completely slipped the moorings of reality. . . . Even as the president was speaking to Al-Maliki in Amman, Jordan, rival Shiite and Sunni groups in Baghdad -- including those controlled by Al-Maliki's patron, cleric Muqtada al-Sadr -- were massing for all-out battle. Bloodshed in the capital has reached its highest level since the American invasion. Whatever happens now in Iraq will have little to do with what the United States wants to happen. . . . Bush showed the clear unreality of his views during a stop in Latvia earlier in the week. He refused to acknowledge the civil war that is plain to see; pronounced, incredibly, that Al-Qaida is the major threat in Iraq, and pledged, again, that he would "not pull American troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete." . . . If the troops still have an actual mission in Iraq, it should be to hunker down and stay safe until someone figures out how to get them home. . . . The Iraq Study Group is searching for that way. Its report, due to Bush next week but leaked to the New York Times Wednesday, pushes Bush to begin withdrawing U.S. combat brigades in the new year. . . . A bipartisan effort is likely to take shape in Congress early next year to press Bush into pulling troops. That's the study group's intended effect: It believes that unless the Iraqis see that Bush is under pressure to begin withdrawals, they will have "zero sense of urgency to reach the political settlement that needs to be reached," as one source told the Times. . . . The report also spends considerable time outlining aggressive diplomacy it believes the Bush administration should undertake in the region, including contact with Iran and Syria that Bush has repeatedly rejected. . . . Throughout its deliberations, the study group worried that its report might come too late, and it may have, especially given Bush's continuing refusal to confront reality. A horrific bloodletting may now be inevitable in Iraq no matter what anyone wants. We hope this report, with the pressure it will put on both Bush and Al-Maliki, can help avoid that, but it's a long shot. Through arrogance, willful ignorance and stubborness, Bush has created in Iraq a real dog's breakfast -- a mess.
posted by Lorenzo 1:17 PM