Monday, December 20, 2004

Bush Accepts Certain Realities (very few, but it's something)

In a rare acknowledgement of the world the rest of us live in, Pres. Bush today appeared to understand that his tried-and-true "say it a lot until it comes true" method of hopeful governance (CNB discussed it here), might not really work.

"I certainly don't expect the process to be trouble-free," he said, speaking of the elections scheduled in Iraq in late Jan. 2005. CNB recalls the suddenly-unpopular (finally) Rummy stating in September 2004, (when speaking of the fear that violence would bar a full Iraqi election): "Well, so be it. Nothing's perfect in life, so you have an election that's not quite perfect. Is it better than not having an election? You bet."

Switching back to defense mode, Pres. Bush stated that Rummy was doing a "fine job", and is a man "who cares deeply about the military and the grief that war causes" (despite his callous response to legitimate inquiry, and failure to sign letters to families of deceased soldiers). Hell, why not just give him a Congressional Medal of Freedom?

As for the Iraqi police force, and the U.S. push to put Iraqi security in the hands of its own people, Bush said "I would call the results mixed." While still avoiding calling it a failure (or his favorite: "catastrophic success" - which should win the Doublespeak Award as far as CNB is concerned), CNB notes that, as far as Bush goes, this is acknowledging errors.

Oddly, he did not connect the efforts (or lack thereof) of Bernie Kerik in those mixed results, but did say that "he made the right decision to pull his name down" (though almost certainly not referring to Kerik's six-month stint heading the training of the Iraqi police). Frankly, CNB is mildly surprised that Kerik did not receive a Congressional Medal of Freedom.

The most telling (unwitting, CNB is sure) statement was this: "We are under no illusion that this Iraqi force is not ready to fight in toto." CNB ignored the double negative, taking the President to mean that he is not foolish enough to believe that the Iraqis are ready to take over completely. Thus, what that really says is that the US is in for an extremely long haul (just ask those poor stop loss soldiers).

Will this finally cause more formerly-hawkish folks (in addition to Sen. Hagel and Sen. Lugar) to question the thought process (or lack thereof) that underlied the run-up to this entire mission? CNB is doubtful, but just ask Rummy if two weeks can make a big difference.