Of Bush's responses
- Due to successes in the surge, U.S. can very gradually return to pre-surge levels..
- Iraqi leaders can be sure that the U.S. is in there as long as the job, whatever is is, requires. However, (slap on the wrist) Iraqi government needs to do more.
- Insurgents and conspirators (Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, Iranian mullahs, whoever else?) against the U.S. occupation can expect U.S. forces to maintain a long-term presence to fight against them.
In the speech, Bush said this to the Iraqis, of particular relevance to the Sunni ally killed today:
"As you do, have confidence that America does not abandon our friends, and we will not abandon you."
To the U.S. Bush said:
"Americans want our country to be safe and our troops to begin coming home from Iraq. Yet, those of us who believe success in Iraq is essential to our security and those who believe we should bring our troops home have been at odds."
"Now, because of the measure of success we are seeing in Iraq, we can begin seeing troops come home. The way forward I have described tonight makes it possible, for the first time in years, for people who have been on opposite sides of this difficult debate to come together."
On the message to Americans, were the desire for success in Iraq and the desire to keep a minimum sacrifice in American lives mutually exclusive?
I see value in a stable Iraq, but the U.S. troops ought not, and cannot, be the main drivers of that effort, giving up thousands of lives and billions of dollars.
For all Bush talks about changing the way forces respond to meet the objectives, ostensibly to nurture stability in Iraq and enable Iraqi forces to maintain security, little has been said about the strategy for Iraq to achieve a needed political solution.
Maybe bring in some outside help. Say NATO, the UN??
Another question is, does U.S. presence aid in that political solution when a majority of Iraqis, including militant nut jobs, want us to leave?
The News analysis pointed out a possible answer to political progress and the potential to withdraw, or lack thereof.
Mr. Bush’s underlying message was that Iraq would operate on its own clock — and that Americans should not expect to have leverage over its decisions.
“Guess what, this is Iraq,” one senior administration official told reporters on Thursday afternoon as they pressed him on whether Mr. Bush had abandoned hope of bringing about change in the time frames he had discussed in January.
Guess what, our armed forces, wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, cousins are over there. Why the hell are we leaving their fate in the hands of Iraqis, who have little common perspective on what political progress looks like? Should we even expect progress from the war-weary Iraqis? Should the troops have to?