It took a thousand days after he ordered the invasion of Iraq for President Bush to describe in considerable detail his strategy for transforming the country and the region, and to lay out the benchmarks that he said Wednesday would lead to "complete victory."
Yet in four recent speeches and an accompanying strategy document he has made his case, some of his aides concede, just as his ability to control events in Iraq may be about to erode.
I listened to all four speeches and I read the strategy document. Mister Bush did not give us considerable detail, or benchmarks, or a strategy. He gave us a rehash of the same piffle he's been blowing up America's skirt and threw in some extra buzz phrases. He certainly hasn't "made his case," and when did he ever have "control" of events in Iraq? What's left to erode? And, hey, are we ever going to get a precise definition of what "complete victory" is?
More "analysis" from Sanger:
In the speeches, Mr. Bush has been cautiously optimistic. He has acknowledged, however, that almost nothing in Iraq has gone according to plan in these past 33 months.
Nothing's gone according to plan because there hasn't been a plan. We've been fumbling around in Iraq since the phony baloney scene the Army psyops staged when Hussein's statue came toppling down.
Sanger tells us that many administration officials have taken of their rose colored glasses.
One senior White House official, insisting on anonymity because he is not authorized to talk about Iraq, said last week that in meetings "we've talked about the possibility that the new Iraqi government will see no advantage in putting its security forces out on the street quickly" if they think the result will be the departure of American firepower.
Some officials have the opposite fear, that a new Iraqi government will ask the Americans to leave too quickly.
All agree, however, that over the next year the American ability to shape the Iraqi battleground will gradually decline.
I won't go into a lecture here on what it means to "shape a battlefield." Suffice it to say that we haven't been doing it in Iraq for the past two years. And if anybody in the White House or the Pentagon thinks we have been, it's no wonder the conflict turned into such a tar pit for U.S. forces.
If it [by "it" I assume Sanger means the "American ability to shape the battlefield"] declines because a new Iraqi government - even a factious, argumentative one - takes shape, the president will be able to declare before the midterm elections that the great gamble of his presidency has paid off, and troops may begin to come home.
Come on, Sanger, let's quit mincing words. What you're really saying is that in a best-case scenario, a factious, argumentative Iraqi government will emerge, Mister Bush will declare "complete victory," and bring the troops home in time to save the Republican Party from being slaughtered in the November '06 elections.
If it declines because the country spins out of control, because terror groups and insurgents still roam, because holding elections turned out to be easier than forging compromises, then Mr. Bush could be back doing next year what he has done over the past two weeks: explaining what went wrong, and why invading the country turned out to be a lot easier than remaking it. (Italics mine).
Q: At what point in the past two weeks did Mister Bush explain what went wrong or why invading the country turned out to be a lot easier than remaking it?
A: At no point did he explain either of those things.
Q: Why are Sanger and others in the mainstream media telling us that Mister Bush gave us a detailed strategy and explained things when anybody who's been potty trained knows he didn't?
a) They're idiots.
b) They think we're idiots.
c) They--especially the New York Times--know they're culpable for helping us get into the Iraq fiasco.
d) They want to seem fair and balanced so they don't lose further circulation/audience share to Fox News, A.M. talk radio, and the rest of the right wing media.
e) All of the above.