The stakes are high, really high in Iraq. General Petraeus is beginning to carry out the strategy, yet the Democrat leaders in Congress have chosen this time to try to force a precipitous withdrawal. In other words, I was presented a bill last night that said, there’s a timetable, you had to leave — start leaving by July 1st and definitely be leaving by October 1st. That didn’t make any sense to me, to impose the will of politicians over the recommendations of our military commanders in the field. So I vetoed the bill. (Applause.)
I was expecting the White House’s written version of Bush’s remarks to use “Democratic” even though Bush said “Democrat” at the event, but it’s there in the text too. I guess he’s angry over the veto situation and resorting to name-calling again.
The repeated invocations of Petraeus and the charge that Democrats are tying the hands of the generals is really dumb too. First of all, plenty of great military minds opposed Bush’s Iraq plans, and they were shown the door. More fundamentally, though, I get the impression Bush has never heard the line that war is too important to be left to the generals. Deciding whether to make war or not is something that belongs in the control of civilian leaders, who are supposed to represent the public. The public wants out.
Another outrage in today’s speech is the “acceptable level of violence” standard.
Either we’ll succeed, or we won’t succeed. And the definition of success as I described is sectarian violence down. Success is not, no violence. There are parts of our own country that have got a certain level of violence to it. But success is a level of violence where the people feel comfortable about living their daily lives. And that’s what we’re trying to achieve.
Really? You mean there are parts of our country where there are suicide bombings, car bombs, sectarian killings, executions, torture, and the like that claim dozens or hundreds of lives in daily incidents? Remind me never to visit those places on vacation!