President Bush used his radio address this week to once again make the case that progress is being made in Iraq, and that U.S. troops should remain there. He started off by talking about the progress in Iraq. “This week, General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker testified before Congress on the progress of America’s strategy in Iraq, including the surge in forces. They agreed that our Coalition faces formidable challenges. Yet they also said that security conditions are improving, that our forces are seizing the initiative from the enemy, and that the troop surge is working.”

The president then repeated the lie from his Thursday night speech that the withdrawal of 30,000 troops is a by product of the success of the troop surge. “Because of this progress, General Petraeus now believes we can maintain our security gains with fewer U.S. troops. He’s recommended a force reduction of 5,700 troops in Iraq by Christmas, and he expects that by July we will be able to reduce our troop levels in Iraq further, from 20 combat brigades to 15. He’s also recommended that in December we begin a transition to the next phase of our strategy in Iraq, in which our troops will shift over time from leading operations to partnering with Iraqi forces, and eventually to overwatching those forces.”

The president once again repeated his administration’s latest advertising slogan for the war, return on success. “The principle that guides my decisions on troop levels is “return on success.” The more successful we are, the more troops can return home. And in all we do, I will ensure that our commanders on the ground have the troops and flexibility they need to defeat the enemy.”

The overwhelmingly lazy nature of this radio address became apparent when the president repeated in shortened form his argument about the success in Anbar Province. Bush once again warned the American people that if the U.S. troops leave Iraq, then the terrorists win. “The success of a free Iraq is critical to the security of the United States. If we were to be driven out of Iraq, extremists of all strains would be emboldened. Al Qaeda could find new recruits and new sanctuaries. And a failed Iraq could increase the likelihood that our forces would someday have to return — and confront extremists even more entrenched and even more deadly. By contrast, a free Iraq will deny al Qaeda a safe haven. It will counter the destructive ambitions of Iran. And it will serve as a partner in the fight against terrorism.”

After talking about assassinated Anbar tribal leader Sheikh Abdul Sattar, Bush concluded, “If Iraq’s young democracy can turn back its enemies; it will mean a more hopeful Middle East — and a more secure America. So we will help the Iraqi people defeat those who threaten their future — and also threaten ours.”

The problem here is that President Bush just refuses to understand that the majority if the American people don’t believe him anymore. Americans didn’t support this war originally because it was supposed to bring democracy to Iraq. The administration sold this war to the American people based on claims that weren’t true. The consequence for drumming up the case for war based on tenuous information is a loss of credibility with the public.

Frankly, I am astonished that the White House couldn’t at least write something original for the president’s Saturday radio address. Having him read excerpts from his Thursday night address plays into the hands of his critics who say that he is nothing more than a broken record with only failed strategies to offer. It doesn’t even seem like the White House is even trying to sell this. Democrats aren’t trying to end this war. The White House seems to have given up on convincing anyone to support this war. In short, it seems like we are in a holding pattern until after next year’s election.

Jason Easley is the politics editor at His column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Jason is also the host of TPU Radio, which can be heard at every Sunday morning at 11 AM ET.



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