Today, U.S. and Iraqi forces launched what some are calling the largest Iraq air assault since 2003.
At today's White House press conference, Scott McClellan said the Operation Swarmer was initiated by commanders in the theater of war, and not by anyone in the administration. Mister Bush apparently knew about it, but he didn't order it.
At the same press conference, McClellan also said, "We have a clear strategy for winning in Iraq," but neither he nor anyone else in the administration have clearly explained what that strategy is, or what exactly "winning" consists of.
The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll says 61 percent of Americans disapprove of Mister Bush's handling of the war, 51 percent say the overthrow of Hussein hasn't been worth it, and 57 percent are "less confident" that the war will end successfully. It's not clear whom those 57 percent are less confident than, but it's a good bet they're less confident that the likes of Scott McClellan seem to be.
I'll be interested to see who the 57 percent are less confident that if this Operation Swarmer turns out to be another bust.
On MSNBC, Congressman Jim Saxton (R-New Jersey) says Operation Swarmer was launched on a "mature level of intelligence." I'm never sure what "mature intelligence" means. More often than not, as we've seen in the countless air strikes "just missed" getting the bad guys they targeted, "mature intelligence" seems to mean "old intelligence."
But whatever Congressman Saxton meant in using the term, one has to wonder if the intelligence that prompted Operation Swarmer was any more or less mature than the intelligence that launch Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The new National Security Strategy is on the streets. It isn't posted at the White House web site yet, but word on the street is that the administration is insisting on sticking with its policy of preemptive deterrence. Preemptive deterrence involves striking an enemy before he has an opportunity to act against us. To do that requires knowledge of the enemy's intentions and capabilities, which requires intelligence.
But as the march to the Iraq invasion illustrated, the intelligence behind preemptive deterrence doesn't have to be accurate. It just has to be "darn good enough" to support actions that we couldn't otherwise justify.
There's no telling just yet how darn good the intelligence behind Operation Swarm was. But if it turns out to have been bad, it won't be Mister Bush's fault, because he didn't order the operation, he just knew about it.
When do you think they told him? When he was working out with Condi?
It sounds like even Mister Bush is getting tired of this pesky old war.