Monday, May 28, 2007

Iraq: Lowering Expectations to Define "Success"

Bush defined "success" in Iraq on May 2, 2007 as this:

"Either we'll succeed, or we won't succeed," he said. "And the definition of success as I described is sectarian violence down. Success is not no violence."

While saying "succeed," Bush appears to chuckle.

The president then compared Iraq to the United States, saying that there were parts of the US with "a certain level of violence," but that "people feel comfortable about living their daily lives" in those areas. That level of violence, said Bush, is what the US is aiming to achieve in Iraq.

Earlier this month, Jon Stewart featured a montage of Bush clips featuring his ever-changing definitions of success. He seems to have a new vision of that every other week.

Now, according to the LA Times, that definition has been dressed down once again. Interesting, considering the Dems jumped on the "let's see if the surge works and things look better in September" bandwagon. Yes, after decrying the surge, they are now supporting it.

BAGHDAD -- U.S. military leaders in Iraq are increasingly convinced that most of the broad political goals President Bush laid out early this year in his announcement of a troop buildup will not be met this summer and are seeking ways to redefine success.

In September, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq, is scheduled to present Congress with an assessment of progress in Iraq. Military officers in Baghdad and outside advisors working with Petraeus doubt that the three major goals set by U.S. officials for the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki will be achieved by then.

Enactment of a new law to share Iraq's oil revenue among Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish regions is the only goal they think might possibly be achieved in time, and even that is considered a long shot. The two other key benchmarks are provincial elections and a deal to allow more Sunni Arabs into government jobs.

With overhauls by the central government stalled and with security in Baghdad still a distant goal, Petraeus' advisors hope to focus on smaller achievements that they see as signs of progress, including deals among Iraq's rival factions to establish areas of peace in some provincial cities.

"Some of it will be infrastructure that is being worked, some of it is local security for neighborhoods, some of it is markets reopening," said a senior military official in Baghdad who spoke on condition of anonymity in discussing military tactics.

After 4 years, the best they can offer is the small stuff to try and prove what a glorious march for freedom this failed experiment in American imperialism has been.

Military officers said they understood that any report that key goals had not been met would add to congressional Democrats' skepticism. But some counterinsurgency advisors to Petraeus have argued that it was never realistic to expect that Iraqis would reach agreement on some of their most divisive issues after just a few months of the American troop buildup.

It's been years. They've had years to work these things out. The Democrats never should have bought the fantasy that somehow things would change in September. Seriously, were they even paying attention?

So in September, Petraeus will share his happy fuzzy puppy stories about Iraq, the Dems will be all up in arms as if they're completely shocked and, once again, they'll agree to further fund the war. Oh but they'll have the small stuff to fall back on as some sort of consolation prize for the blank check they wrote Bush last week.

A bandaid on a gaping head wound. That's all they have. And I truly believe that Bush sees "success" in the Iraq war as his leaving office while it's still going on - never having been impeached for his lies and never having to face prosecution for war crimes.

Monday: 123 Iraqis Killed, 233 Wounded

Ignorance really is bliss:

WASHINGTON — Confronted with strong opposition to his Iraq policies, President Bush decides to interpret public opinion his own way. Actually, he says, people agree with him.

And not just that 28%.

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