Wednesday, March 22, 2006

What a Difference Three Years Makes

[[W A R]] * Although my energies are drawn away from blogging this week, as I finish up a magazine assignment, I couldn’t help noting the contrast in expectations between what George W. Bush and Dick Cheney said before the now three-year-old Iraq war, and what Bush told reporters yesterday at the White House.

Cheney in March 2003, before the United States invaded Iraq:
“Now, I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. ... I’m confident that our troops will be successful, and I think it’ll go relatively quickly ... weeks rather than months.”
Bush during Tuesday’s press conference:
Question: “Will there come a day--and I’m not asking you when, not asking for a timetable--will there come a day when there will be no more American forces in Iraq?”

Bush: “That, of course, is an objective, and that will be decided by future Presidents and future governments of Iraq.”

Question: “So it won’t happen on your watch?”

Bush: “You mean a complete withdrawal? That’s a timetable. I can only tell you that I will make decisions on force levels based upon what the commanders on the round say.”
So, after misleading the American public about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Bush has created a nightmare of death and destruction in that Middle Eastern nation--one that has provoked such violence and civil war, that he now can’t even see an end to it. Or find the courage to end it himself before he’s displaced from office in January 2009.

As usual, the prez expects somebody else--the next Democratic president?--to bail him out of the messes he creates.

Wasn’t it just last summer that Bush & Company downplayed reports that Pentagon officials were planning for up to 12 more years of combat in Iraq?

Can you say “quagmire”?

INEFFECTUAL IS AS INEFFECTUAL DOES: Responding to Bush’s statement that the next president would be left to deal with the increasingly bloody disaster in Iraq, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) had this to say:
“To me it shows how dangerously incompetent he is. 'Stay the course, mission accomplished, bring ’em on,’ the American people are sick of that. We need to change course in Iraq. ... I think the president burying his head in the sand is not going to do the trick.”
READ MORE:Thousands Protest War’s Third Anniversary,” by Sara Lin and Deborah Schoch (Los Angeles Times); “Message: I Hear--The President Tries to Prove He Gets It,” by John Dickerson (Slate); “Is Bush’s Iraq Media Blitz Helping?” by Richard Wolffe and Holly Bailey (Newsweek); “Bush Continues to Deal in Denial,” by Robert Scheer (San Francisco Chronicle); “The Logic of Withdrawal,” by Anthony Arnove (In These Times); “Bush Has Little Political Capital Left,” by Tom Raum (AP); “I Am Ashamed,” by Georgia10 (Daily Kos); “George Bush’s Trillion-Dollar War,” by Bob Herbert (The New York Times).

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