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What Bush doesn't say speaks volumes
Cat : New Cons
Date : 2006-10-26 19:12:54                      Reader : 337

report confirmed that no terrorism was there in Iraq before invasion. More over no relation what so ever was there between Iraq and Alqaeda. UN, Congress, and the world found no WMD in Iraq. Even Bush admitted!! So what new lies of new strategy in Iraq?! Bush is fading sharply to his destiny.

WNN 26-10-2006

What Bush doesn't say speaks volumes
By Thomas E. Ricks

The Washington Post


MANDEL NGAN / AFP/GETTY IMAGES

During his news conference, President Bush spoke several times about his flexibility.


WASHINGTON — The text of President Bush's news conference Wednesday ran to nearly 10,000 words, but what may have been more significant were the things he did not say.

The president talked repeatedly about "benchmarks" for progress in Iraq, using that word some 13 times. But he did not discuss the consequences of the Iraqi government missing those targets. Such a question, he said, was "hypothetical."

That response left unclear how the benchmarks would be different from previous times when the U.S. has set out intentions, only to back down. For example, the original war plan envisioned the U.S. troop presence in Iraq being cut to 30,000 by fall 2003. Last year, some top U.S. commanders thought they would be able to significantly cut the U.S. troop level in Iraq this year — a hope now officially abandoned. More recently, the U.S. military all but withdrew from Baghdad, only to have to have to reenter the capital as security evaporated from its streets and Iraqi forces proved unable to restore calm by themselves.

Bush also spoke several times about his flexibility, apparently as a way of countering critics calling for a major change in his approach to Iraq. But he made it clear that he was talking about tactical adjustments, rather than the kind of sweeping strategic revision being mulled by the Iraq Study Group led by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, and also being urged by a host of members of Congress and political pundits.

More briefly, he touched upon establishing Iraqi security forces. But he did not use his old favorite phrase about U.S. troops "standing down as they stand up."

He mentioned the goal of training about 325,000 Iraqi soldiers and police officers, but he did not address the paradox that as that goal is neared, violence has intensified and the insurgency appears as robust as ever.

Nor did he note that after U.S. forces stood down in Baghdad, they had to stand back up again. Instead, without offering much explanation, he said that "we are refining our training strategy for the Iraqi security forces."

At the same time, the president's tone has changed markedly. Gone was the talk of past Bush administration news conferences about "steady progress" in Iraq and all the good news that the media was said to be ignoring. Instead, he began Wednesday's session with a straightforward and even grim account of the events of the last month in Iraq. He noted the deaths of 93 U.S. soldiers over the past 25 days. "I know many Americans are not satisfied with the situation in Iraq," he said. "I'm not satisfied either." So, he said, the American effort in Iraq is "constantly adjusting our tactics."

Yet he appeared to be quietly digging in his heels. "Our goals are unchanging," he emphasized in his opening remarks. "We are flexible in our methods to achieving those goals."

His bottom line was that "we'll work as fast as we can get the job done." That open-ended commitment to an unchanging goal doesn't seem different from the answer being given by Bush administration officials three years and 2,802 U.S. military deaths ago that the U.S. effort in Iraq would last "as long as it takes."




Kurt Campbell, a Clinton-era Pentagon official and co-author of a new book on defense politics, interpreted the president's comments as an effort to patch up differences within the Republican Party over Iraq and aid candidates facing close elections in two weeks. "It was meant to appeal to both the 'stay the course' crowd and the 'we need a responsible change' crowd," he said.

But Campbell said he expected a major strategic revision on Iraq soon after that vote, predicting that "the political dynamics are going to change radically after the election."

Vin Weber, a lobbyist and former Republican member of Congress with ties to the White House, said he thought the president more broadly was trying to appeal to the American public as it loses faith in his Iraq policy.

"Basically, the bottom has fallen out," he said. "The public is on the verge of throwing up its hands over Iraq."

 


 
 
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