The Bush Counter-Offensive

Glad to see the Prez making the rounds, beginning with his presser today.
sometimes the debate over Iraq is cast as a disagreement between those who want to keep our troops in Iraq and those who want to bring our troops home. And this is not the real debate. I don't know anyone who doesn't want to see the day when our brave servicemen and women can start coming home.
In my address to the nation in January, I put it this way: If we increase our support at this crucial moment we can hasten the day our troops begin coming home. The real debate over Iraq is between those who think the fight is lost or not worth the cost, and those that believe the fight can be won and that, as difficult as the fight is, the cost of defeat would be far higher.
It's good; I think this is the most time he has spent discussing the political benchmarks. I'll cite this simply because it picks up our little discussion of Rummy the other day --only this time applied to Gen. Franks. The question is asked, since you didn't put enough troops on the ground in the first place, why should we trust your judgment now?
history is going to look back to determine whether or not there might have been a different decision made. But at the time, the only thing I can tell you, Wendell, is that I relied upon our military commander to make the proper decision about troop strength. And I can remember a meeting with the Joint Chiefs, who said, we've reviewed the plan. I remember -- and seemed satisfied with it. I remember sitting in the PEOC, or the Situation Room, downstairs here at the White House, and I went to commander and commander that were all responsible of different aspects of the operation to remove Saddam. I said to each one of them, do you have what it takes? Are you satisfied with the strategy? And the answer was, yes.
At that point I got a little nervous, because it seemed as if he was going to blame General Franks, but I should have known better:
We have worked hard to help this country reconcile. After all, they do have a modern constitution, which is kind of a framework for reconciliation. And after all, there was a significant series of votes where the people were given a chance to express their desire to live in a free society. As a matter of fact, 12 million Iraqis went to the polls.
What happened then, of course, is that the enemy, al Qaeda, attacks the Samarra Mosque, which, of course, created anxiety and anger amongst the Shia. And then all of a sudden the sectarian violence began to spiral. Reconciliation hadn't taken hold deep enough in society to prevent this violence from taking hold. And so I have a -- you know, I've got to decide whether or not it's okay for that violence to continue, or whether or not it makes sense for us to try to send more troops in to quell the violence, to give the reconciliation process further time to advance.
The destruction of the Golden Mosque was the hinge of everything, and after it, something different was called for. Watching, I thought Bush seemed in command and optimistic, actually. The press...well, you know. Some days I can't muster the esteem for 'em to be angry with 'em.