Friday, September 14, 2007

bush declares "success"

I'm sure many Republicans would love for de facto President George Bush to declare victory and get the hell out of Viet - oops, I mean Iraq. Well, in his speech he is at least declaring "success" as a reason to pull out 5700 troops by the end of the year.

Now, that's not exactly a massive withdrawal, given that it still leaves us with about 25,000 more troops in Iraq at the end of 2007 than at the beginning. And calling this collaboration with Sunni tribal forces against outsiders Al Qaida a success is perhaps premature, as US temporary ally Abdul Sattar Abu Risha unfortunately discovered when he was killed by a car bomb. And if Bush is serious about "return on success" as the criteria for getting out of Iraq, well we could be there for a very long time - unless "success" is redefined down to a meaningless level, along the lines of "fewer than 5000 Iraqis were killed this month, woo-hoo."

I'm glad Tom Shales watched the news coverage of the speech so I didn't have to. I was struck MSNBC's Chris Matthews' analogy - calling Bush's speech akin to Lucy holding the football and then jerking it away when Charlie Brown tries to kick it. As Matthews said, Bush has been dealing in "false promises and false arguments again and again and again."

We've seen this story before, with the President assuring us that all was going well ("we're kicking ass," he told an Australian leader recently) and there was light at the end of the tunnel. Why believe it this time?



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