Another Iraq Photo Op
Iraq is a long way to go for a photo op, but not for President Bush, who is pulling out all the stops to divert public attention from his failed Iraq policies and to keep Congress from demanding that he bring the troops home. As Americans and Iraqis continue to die — and Iraqi politicians refuse to reconcile — Mr. Bush stubbornly refuses to recognize that what both countries need is a responsible exit strategy for the United States, not more photo ops and disingenuous claims of success.I have already documented that the surge is a failure:
With Congress launching a series of pivotal hearings this week, Mr. Bush’s eight-hour stopover in Iraq on Sunday won him major play in the news media, including photos of smiling American military forces with their commander in chief. But the facts of the visit undermined his claims that his troop escalation is working and deserves more time and more lives to bear fruit.
Mr. Bush’s only destination was an isolated, well-fortified air base in Anbar Province, not Baghdad where his so-called surge was supposed to bring stability and persuade Iraqi politicians that they had more to gain from reconciliation than score-settling. We suppose Mr. Bush could claim one success for his visit: he did manage to get Iraq’s Shiite prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, to visit the Sunni-dominated province.
- Boy - that surge sure is working!
- And About That Successful Surge
- Say it slowly: This. Is. A. Lie
- The Mesopotamia News Wire
The report by the Government Accountability Office said that Iraq’s government has failed to eliminate militia control of local security forces, failed to increase the number of army units capable of operating independently, failed to enact long-promised legislation essential for political reconciliation and even raised doubts whether the government is capable of spending $10 billion in reconstruction funds.And there is still no plan after four and a half years.
And that was the buffed-up version. An earlier draft of the G.A.O. report had the Iraqis failing on 15 of the 18 goals, until the Pentagon protested that the grading was too harsh.
Mr. Bush clearly has no strategy to end this conflict, which has no end in sight. The American people deserve considered judgments not come-ons from their leaders. Congress needs to insist on a prudent formula that will withdraw American forces and limit the hemorrhaging.Perhaps the editorial board of the Times can get congress to do what it needs to do.