Saturday, July 14, 2007

If The Horse You Are Riding Is Dead, For God's Sake Get Off!

Forget the leaks and the speculation, President George W. Bush is not looking for a way out of the surge and the Iraq war. In a session with about ten conservative journalists Friday afternoon, a confident and determined president made it clear that he is going to see the surge through, and will rely on General David Petraeus’s advice on how to proceed come September, regardless of the political climate in Washington.
Kate O'Beirne and Rich Lowery of the National Review Online, continue their report.
One interesting thing is that the President disagreed with himself.
“How can he possibly do this,” he said, characterizing what critics of the war were thinking. “Can’t he see? Can’t he hear?” (At one point he acknowledged that these decisions aren’t easy — “You don’t know what it’s like to be commander-in-chief until you’re commander-in-chief,” he said.)

He explained “that last fall, if I had been part of this polling, if they had called upstairs and said, do you approve of Iraq I would have been on the 66 percent who said, `No I don’t approve.’ That’s why I made the decision I made. To get in a position where I would be able to say ‘Yes, I approve.

Later in the interview, President Bush rejected the notion that he will be constrained by the availability of troops come next spring and will have to draw down the surge. He said, with a pointed ending to his answer, “The key factor that I’m confident that David Petraeus is looking at as he comes back is how to achieve the initial objective he set out, which is to provide enough security for the political process to move forward. I’m sure that in the bowels of the Pentagon people are looking at troop rotations and troop movements, but that is not the primary objective of our commander on the ground—next question.”

Asked specifically if that meant that Petraeus would get the troops to continue past the spring if he needed them, he said, “We will work as hard as we can. People said we couldn’t find the troops for the last reinforcement as well,” but he added that he’s mindful of troop rotations and time in theater.

He said, eventually, “We need to be in a position that can sustain a long-term troop presence,” although that depends on “conditions on the ground.”

He is going to stay in Iraq until he leaves office and let his successor deal with it. God Help Us All.

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