In his radio address this week, President Bush used the initial progress report to defend his Iraq strategy. “The interim report released this week finds that the Iraqis have made satisfactory progress in eight areas — such as providing the three brigades they promised for the surge, establishing joint security stations in Baghdad neighborhoods, and providing $10 billion of their own money for reconstruction. In eight other areas, the progress was unsatisfactory — such as failing to prepare for local elections or pass a law to share oil revenues. In two remaining areas, the progress was too unclear to be characterized one way or the other,” the president said.

President Bush then put his ‘the glass is half full’ attitude on display. He said, “Those who believe that the battle in Iraq is lost are pointing to the unsatisfactory performance on some of the political benchmarks. Those of us who believe the battle in Iraq can and must be won see the satisfactory performance on several of the security benchmarks as a cause for optimism. Our strategy is built on the premise that progress on security will pave the way for political progress. This report shows that conditions can change, progress can be made, and the fight in Iraq can be won.”

After once again explaining that the troop surge is a new strategy, and highlighting the success that the military has had in Anbar province, the president again linked the Iraq war and al-Qaeda. “We are starting to take the initiative away from al Qaeda — and aiding the rise of an Iraqi government that can protect its people, deliver basic services, and be an ally in the war against extremists and radicals. By doing this, we are creating the conditions that will allow our troops to begin coming home. When America starts drawing down our forces in Iraq, it will be because our military commanders say the conditions on the ground are right — not because pollsters say it would be good politics,” he said.

He then went back to his standard explanation for why the troops can’t be brought home sooner. He inferred that if we leave Iraq, al-Qaeda wins. “To begin to bring troops home before our commanders tell us we are ready would be dangerous for our country. It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to al Qaeda, risking a humanitarian catastrophe, and allowing the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq and gain control of vast oil resources they could use to fund new attacks on America. And it would increase the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous,” he said.

The president concluded by saying what he thinks Americans want to see in Iraq. “Most Americans want to see two things in Iraq: They want to see our troops succeed, and they want to see our troops begin to come home. We can do both, and we will. Our troops in Iraq are serving bravely. They’re making great sacrifices. Changing the conditions in Iraq is difficult, and it can be done. The best way to start bringing these good men and women home is to make sure the surge succeeds.”

I would say that President Bush has it totally wrong. Americans do want to see the troops come home as soon as possible, but they long ago stopped believing that Iraq is a part of the war on terror, and really don’t care about the political mission. This was more of the same old half truths and empty optimism that the president has been putting out there for almost five years now. The worse things seem to get in Iraq, the more optimistic President Bush gets. George W. Bush has become LBJ. He is trapped in a war against an enemy, not just al-Qaeda, that he underestimated, and he has no idea how to get out. He clings on to his optimism while spinning further and further away from reality, and losing all credibility in the process. Bush has become a text book example of the out of touch president.

Full text of President Bush’s weekly radio address

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics

Jason can also be heard every Sunday at 7:00 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse

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