Hiding Behind the General
The military commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, is to deliver a report to Congress on Monday that could be the most consequential testimony by a wartime commander in more than a generation. What the country desperately needs is an honest assessment of the war and a clear strategy for extricating American forces from the hopeless spiral of violence in Iraq.Indeed, that's the name of the game now - stall until 2009 so someone else will have to take the hit for the loss. Yes I suspect that even the delusional Mr Bush knows the war is lost at this point. Since Bush has no credibility of his own he is trying to hide behind General Petraeus. But as I have pointed out here before the good general has some credibility problems of his own.
President Bush, however, seems to be aiming for maximum political advantage — not maximum clarity on Iraq’s military and political crises, which cannot be separated from each other. Mr. Bush, we fear, isn’t looking for the truth, only for ways to confound the public, scare Democrats into dropping their demands for a sound exit strategy, and prolong the war until he leaves office. At times, General Petraeus gives the disturbing impression that he, too, is more focused on the political game in Washington than the unfolding disaster in Iraq. That serves neither American nor Iraqi interests.
General Petraeus has his own credibility problems. He overstepped in 2004 when he published an op-ed article in The Washington Post six weeks before the election. The general — then in charge of training and equipping Iraq’s security forces — rhapsodized about “tangible progress” and how the Iraqi forces were “developing steadily,” an assessment that may have swayed some voters but has long since proved to be untrue.Nothing has changed.
And just last week, senior military commanders in Baghdad who work for General Petraeus entered the political fray by taking issue — anonymously — with the grim assessment of Iraq’s politics and security by non-partisan Congressional investigators.
Nothing has changed about Mr. Bush’s intentions. Waving off the independent reports, he plans to stay the course and make his successor fix his Iraq fiasco. Military progress without political progress is meaningless, and Mr. Bush no more has a plan for unifying Iraq now than when he started the war. The United States needs a prudent exit strategy that will withdraw American forces and try to stop Iraq’s chaos from spreading.Yes, George W. Bush's only plan is to do what he has done all of his life - avoid responsibility. It's up to congress to end the war. But are they up to it? I doubt it so more Americans will die and their blood will be on the Democratic lawmakers as much as Mr. Bush.