Bush press conference--it's the same old song

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 at 04:49 PM

Once again President Bush faced the cameras and the nation in a televised press conference.  Once again he addressed Iraq.  Once again the press inquired about Iraq.  Once again the president offered his same old song.

From CNN's transcript of the Bush press conference today (emphasis added):

The situation is difficult in Iraq, no question about it.

The violence is being caused by a combination of terrorists, elements of former regime criminals and sectarian militias. Attacks and casualties has risen during the Ramadan period. A rise in violence has occurred every Ramadan period in the last three years.

Attacks and casualties have also increased recently because our forces are confronting the enemy in Baghdad and in other parts of Iraq. The past weekend, U.S. and Iraqi forces engaged militias, or members of an illegal militia, during a mission to capture a high- value target.

The reason I bring this up is that we're on the move; we're taking action; we're helping this young democracy succeed.

The reasons we went after the illegal militia was to capture a man responsible for killing many innocent Iraqis, and we accomplished that mission.

Our troops have increased their presence on the streets of Baghdad.

Together with Iraqi forces, they're working to ensure that terrorists and death squads cannot intimidate the local population and operate murder rings.

Amid the violence, important political developments are also taking place.

From the Q&A portion of the same conference:

QUESTION: Senator Warner says Iraq appears to be drifting sideways. And James Baker says a change in strategy may be needed.

Are you willing to acknowledge that a change may be needed?

BUSH: We're constantly changing tactics to achieve a strategic goal. Our strategic goal is a country which can defend itself, sustain itself and govern itself.

The strategic goal is to help this young democracy succeed in a world in which extremists are trying to intimidate rational people in order to topple moderate governments and to extend the caliphate.

The stakes couldn't be any higher, as I said earlier, in the world in which we live. There are extreme elements that use religion to achieve objectives. And they want us to leave. And they want to topple government. They want to extend an ideological caliphate that has no concept of liberty inherent in their beliefs.

They want to control oil resources and they want to plot and plan and attack us again. That's their objectives.

And so -- and our strategic objective is to prevent them from doing that. And we're constantly changing tactics to achieve that objective. And I appreciate Senator Warner going over there and taking a look.

I want you to notice what he did say is: If the plan is now not working, the plan that's in place isn't working, America needs to adjust. I completely agree. That's what I talked to General Casey about.

I said: General, the Baghdad security plan is in its early implementation. I support you strongly but, if you come into this office and say we need to do something differently, I support you. If you need more troops, I support you. If you're going to devise a new strategy, we're with you. Because I trust General Casey to make the judgments necessary to put the tactics in place to help us achieve an objective.

And I appreciate Jimmy Baker's willingness to -- he and Lee Hamilton are putting this -- they got a group they put together that -- I think it was Congressman Wolf's suggestion -- or passed into law.

We supported the idea. I think it's good to have some of our elder statesmen -- I hate to call Baker an elder statesman -- but to go over there and take a look and to come back and make recommendations.

Somebody said he said, "Well, you know, cut-and-run isn't working." That's not our policy.

Our policy is to help this country succeed, because I understand the stakes. And I'm going to repeat them one more time. As a matter of fact, I'm going to spend a lot of time repeating the stakes about what life is like in the Middle East.

"our strategic objective is to prevent them from doing that"?????

"Our policy is to help this country succeed"?????

Well, you certainly couldn't get any more detailed than that.  That's quite a plan.  React to the enemy, wherever and whatever it does, and help the current government succeed.

This is not something that will be taught in future courses on warfare, at least not as an example of something good, or effective.

"It's the same old song,
with a different meaning since Iraq went wrong."