Excuses, excuses

I couldn't stop myself. I watched the speech. Here's what I took to be the key passage:
I'm a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign-policy matters with war on my mind. |W|

Oh, wait. That was from Meet the Press last February. Here, for real, are the two passages that leapt out at me:
I have made it clear to the prime minister and Iraq’s other leaders that America’s commitment is not open-ended. If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people — and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people. Now is the time to act. The prime minister understands this. Here is what he told his people just last week: “The Baghdad security plan will not provide a safe haven for any outlaws, regardless of sectarian or political affiliation.”
Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenge. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.|W|

The first paragraph sounds like an ultimatum. That is, it sounds like Bush is telling Makiki that if his government doesn't become a full partner in the US strategy to fight the insurgency, then the US will go home. Since Maliki obviously isn't going to take a stand against the Shiite militias, the warm and fuzzy optimistic cynic in me wants to believe that this is Bush's way of saving face. We'll have the surge, but (supposedly) due to a lack of cooperation from Maliki, Baghdad won't be pacified. Bush can then blame Maliki for the failure, throw up his hands, and bring the troops home. Also, I get a pony.

The second paragraph sounds like a threat. That is, it sounds like Bush is saying that if the surge doesn't work then that will be the result of Iranian and Syrian meddling. The cold and jaded pessimistic cynic in me can't help but believe that this is part of a larger strategy to widen the war. We'll have the surge, but (supposedly) due to foreign interference, Baghdad won't be pacified. Bush can then blame Iran (or Syria) for the failure, set his jaw, and go all Curtis LeMay on their asses. Nobody gets a pony, but hopes are raised in the fever swamp.

It's a new doctrine of preemptive ass covering, and you've got to admire the thoroughness. Whatever we do, and wherever mistakes may have been made, Bush will have an excuse.


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