This week, while on vacation, President Bush dedicated his radio address to highlighting the local military success of the troop surge strategy in Iraq. The president began by talking about the latest military offensive in Iraq.

“In recent months, American and Iraqi forces have struck powerful blows against al Qaeda terrorists and violent extremists in Anbar and other provinces. In recent days, our troops and Iraqi allies launched a new offensive called Phantom Strike. In this offensive, we are carrying out targeted operations against terrorists and extremists fleeing Baghdad and other key cities — to prevent them from returning or setting up new bases of operation,” Bush said.

“The terrorists remain dangerous and brutal, as we saw this week when they massacred more than 200 innocent Yezidis, a small religious minority in northwestern Iraq. Our hearts go out to the families of those killed, and our troops are going to go after the murderers behind this horrific attack. As we surge combat operations to capture and kill the enemy, we are also surging Provincial Reconstruction Teams to promote political and economic progress. Since January, we have doubled the number of these teams, known as PRTs. They bring together military, civilian, and diplomatic personnel to help Iraqi communities rebuild infrastructure, create jobs, and encourage reconciliation from the ground up. These teams are now deployed throughout the country, and they are helping Iraqis make political gains, especially at the local level,” the president continued.

He then talked about the often mentioned success in Anbar province. “In Anbar province, at this time last year, the terrorists were in control of many areas and brutalizing the local population. Then local sheikhs joined with American forces to drive the terrorists out of Ramadi and other cities. Residents began to provide critical intelligence, and tribesmen joined the Iraqi police and security forces. Today, the provincial council in Ramadi is back, and last month provincial officials re-opened parts of the war-damaged government center with the help of one of our PRTs. Thirty-five local council members were present as the chairman called the body to order for its inaugural session.”

President Bush mentioned the lack of political progress in Iraq. “Unfortunately, political progress at the national level has not matched the pace of progress at the local level. The Iraqi government in Baghdad has many important measures left to address, such as reforming the de-Baathification laws, organizing provincial elections, and passing a law to formalize the sharing of oil revenues. Yet, the Iraqi parliament has passed about 60 pieces of legislation. And despite the lack of oil revenue law on the books, oil revenue sharing is taking place. The Iraqi parliament has allocated more than $2 billion in oil revenue for the provinces. And the Shia-led government in Baghdad is sharing a significant portion of these oil revenues with Sunni provincial leaders in places like Anbar.”

President Bush concluded by looking on the bright side, “America will continue to urge Iraq’s leaders to meet the benchmarks they have set. Yet Americans can be encouraged by the progress and reconciliation that are taking place at the local level. An American politician once observed that “all politics is local.” In a democracy, over time national politics reflects local realities. And as reconciliation occurs in local communities across Iraq, it will help create the conditions for reconciliation in Baghdad as well.”

What President Bush is doing here is laying the ground work for accentuating the positives in the mid-September Petraeus report. The reality is that 30,000 soldiers aren’t going to transform Iraq. The counterinsurgency strategy could work if the U.S. had enough troops in Iraq. The strategy will be successful as long as the troops can stay in any area that they take and clear. The problem is that we don’t have enough troops to implement this strategy across the nation. Also, if the U.S. can’t secure Baghdad, they can’t secure Iraq. There is no real self functioning government in Iraq, and no amount of happy spin from Washington, D.C. can make these problems go away.

Full Text of President Bush’s 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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