Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Solution for Iraq War? Start new political war

Palm Beach Post, in toto, without comment, no quotes to save space:

So, President Bush's Camp David summit on Iraq wasn't a policy-and-planning event. It was a ruse, so the president could make Tuesday's surprise visit to Baghdad. That follows the pattern. Deal with the political problem, not the real problem.

With rotten poll numbers because of Iraq, and midterm elections five months away, Karl Rove pounced on the death of terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to declare that an administration run by "cut-and-run" Democrats never could have gotten him. This fresh attack comes from the political brain of the administration that turned Zarqawi into a terrorist star. If President Bush had not chosen the wrong war and invaded without a plan, Zarqawi probably would have remained the bit terrorism player, unaffiliated with Al-Qaeda, that he was before Mr. Bush's mistake turned Iraq into a recruiting outpost for terrorists and a source of terrorism.

Although the administration claims that Mr. Bush's trip was planned before Zarqawi's death, the president's sudden appearance is about as subtle as posing with the corpse. The president supposedly went to Baghdad to show his support for new Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki now that the Iraqi leader finally has completed his Cabinet appointments. Mr. Maliki, who thought he was to participate in a teleconference from Camp David, found out that President Bush was in Baghdad five minutes before their first face-to-face meeting.

Two things are interesting about that. How in-charge is Mr. Maliki if a foreign leader can show up in Iraq without his knowledge or permission? Second, how in-charge is anybody when Mr. Bush, like other U.S. dignitaries who have visited Baghdad recently, has to come to the country in secret and confine his activities to the Green Zone and U.S. bases? Many in the president's entourage, The Associated Press reported, wore 25-pound flak jackets during the six-minute helicopter flight from the airstrip where they landed to the Green Zone.

President Bush told Prime Minister Maliki that he had "come to tell you that when America gives its word, it keeps its word," on turning Iraq into a peaceful democracy and stabilizing influence in the Middle East. Problem is, this administration does not know how to keep its word. Even as he seemed to be promising to stay the course, President Bush shifted the burden onto Iraq.

"I have expressed our country's desire to work with you, but I appreciate you recognize the fact that the future of the country is in your hands," he told Mr. Maliki. "The decisions you and your Cabinet make will determine as to whether or not your country succeeds." That lays the groundwork for something that, were Democrats to do it, Mr. Rove would label "cut-and-run."

The U.S. has been fighting the Iraq War almost as long as we fought World War II, yet Mr. Bush still can't define victory, let alone explain to Americans how he will achieve it. So he has chosen to take on an old enemy he knows how to defeat: the Democratic Party.

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