Bush: U.S. Troops to Stay in Iraq
August 12, 2005
You can forget about massive troop withdrawals next year. That was the message Bush conveyed at his press conference on August 11 in Crawford.
In his prepared remarks, he said, “As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down. And when that mission of defeating the terrorists in Iraq is complete, our troops will come home.”
But when will that mission be complete?
Iraq has become a magnet for terrorists, and any hope that they can be vanquished any time soon has fast been fading.
When asked by about the recent suggestions by U.S. commanders that the Pentagon will be able to bring home a significant number of troops next year, Bush went out of his way to shoot down those trial balloons: “I think they were rumors. I think they were speculation. . . . I suspect what you were hearing was speculation. . . . I think it’s kind of what we call speculation.”
So much for that!
Any drawing down of U.S. troops, he added, will depend on “whether or not the Iraqis have got the capability of taking the fight to the enemy.”
While he claimed the Iraqi units were making progress, he acknowledged that “not that many can stand alone yet.”
And he clued everyone in to what one of his favorite phrases, “as soon as possible,” actually means.
“I’ve said along we’d like to get our troops home as soon as possible, but soon as possible is conditions-based.”
In other words, it means nothing.
Bush tried to make nice to Cindy Sheehan, though he did not respond to her central charge that her son died for a war that Bush waged on false pretenses.
Instead, he focused on rebutting her call for pulling out now, saying it would embolden terrorists.
But the terrorists seem pretty emboldened already, and Bush’s Iraq War is giving them valuable on-the-job training.
To those who have lost loved ones in the war, Bush insisted that “one way to honor the fallen is to lay the foundation of peace.”
But Bush has laid the foundation of chaos, and that’s going to result in more needless deaths and more grieving families.
At the end, in a fit of self-parody, Bush went on about how Iraq is “hard work,” using that term three times in two sentences.
But it’s more than hard work. It’s an impossible task, and the sooner Bush realizes that, the better.