President Bush used his radio address this week to talk about his brief trip to Anbar Province and to announce that he will address the nation next week about his vision for Iraq. The president started his address by highlighting the success in Anbar. “Earlier this week, I traveled to Iraq’s Anbar Province to visit our troops and see with my own eyes the remarkable changes they are making possible.”

He spoke about why Anbar is important to the future of Iraq. “Success in Anbar is critical to the democratic future of Iraq and to the war on terror. This largely Sunni province covers nearly a third of Iraq. It stretches from the outskirts of Baghdad to Iraq’s borders with Jordan, and Syria, and Saudi Arabia. And until recently, Anbar was al Qaeda’s chief base of operations in Iraq.”

After describing the success in Anbar, Bush turned to praising the Iraqi government. “I also met with national leaders from Iraq’s government: President Talabani and Prime Minister Maliki, Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih, Vice President Abd al-Mahdi, Vice President Hashimi, and President Barzani of the Kurdish region. These men come from different religious and ethnic backgrounds. But they all understand the importance of succeeding in Anbar. And so they’re reaching out to help, with positive steps such as sharing oil revenues with provincial leaders. I thanked the representatives of Iraq’s government for their efforts to support the bottom-up progress in Anbar. And I told them that the American people expect them to meet their commitments and pass the legislation they’ve agreed on.”

He also laid the groundwork for Petraeus and Crocker’s testimony before Congress next week. “While in Iraq, I also received a good briefing from General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. They gave me an update on our military, and political, and economic efforts to support our Iraqi partners. They told me about the progress they’re seeing across Iraq and their ideas for the way forward. In the next few days, they will come to Washington to give Congress their assessment of conditions on the ground. I urge the Members of Congress to listen to these two well-respected professionals — before jumping to any conclusions.”

President Bush concluded by announcing that he will give a national address next week about the recommendations in the latest Iraq progress report. “Next week, after consulting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, my national security team, Members of Congress from both parties, and Iraqi leaders, I will speak directly to the Nation about the recommendations General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker have presented to me. I will discuss the changes our strategy has brought to Iraq. I will lay out a vision for future involvement in Iraq — one that I believe the American people and their elected leaders of both parties can support. By coming together on the way forward, we will strengthen Iraq’s democracy, deal a blow to our enemies, secure interests in the Middle East, and make our Nation safer.”

It really doesn’t matter what is in the progress report, or how his national address goes. President Bush has lost all credibility when it comes to Iraq, and he is not going to be able to rally public support for this war. Real progress in Iraq isn’t measured by Anbar. When Baghdad becomes safe and secure, and when the sectarian violence stops, then real progress will have been made. The main problems in Iraq aren’t in Anbar, and I don’t think people are buying this accentuate the positive sell job that the Bush administration is doing.

Full text of President Bush’s radio address

 

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