1st, the surge's goals, as outlined by President Bush way back in January, were clearly not met:
"To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November. To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country's economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis. To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs. To empower local leaders, Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections later this year. And to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation's political life, the government will reform de-Baathification laws, and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq's constitution." - President Bush, Jan 10, 20072nd, General Petraeus' recommendations for drawing down troop levels were not based on the data presented in his report:
So much for "conditions." Under questioning from Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), Gen. Petraeus conceded that his timetable for ending the surge by July 2008 is due to the five extra active-duty Brigade Combat Teams coming to the end of their scheduled deployments and the lack of available units to keep U.S. troop strength at 162,000.3rd, after nearly 7 years into a presidency marked by hyper-partisanship, Mr. Bush's speech was little more than a whinny call for everyone to suck it up and support his view of the war in a show of "bipartisanship":
Whatever political party you belong to, whatever your position on Iraq, we should be able to agree that America has a vital interest in preventing chaos and providing hope in the Middle East.He later added, "as long as the way you choose to express this position matches up with what I want." (Paraphrased.)
4th, after rolling out a report that magically aligned with everything he had already been saying, and after giving a speech that magically aligned with the report that aligned with what he had already been saying, Mr. Bush announced that he had a new way of marketing what he had already been saying:
WASHINGTON — Eight months after President Bush made public a plan he hailed as the "New Way Forward" in Iraq, he's announced a new plan, this one called "Return on Success."Wow!!! It even has a catchphrase!!! Of course, this new plan will come complete with a season finale staring David Petraeus.
The new plan was reminiscent of last year's "Operation Together Forward," which called for U.S. troops to secure neighborhoods in Baghdad and hand them over to Iraqi security forces. It bore similarities to an even older plan commonly articulated with the catchphrase "as they stand up, we'll stand down."
On a finishing note, what is really sad about all of this is not that everyone buys into this garbage (they don't), but that the only reason something like this can work is because Republican support for the war has stabilized and Mr. Bush knows that he has a built-in audience where this sort of nonsense has more appeal than a Viagra commercial does to Fred Thompson.