Bush on C-SPAN

There was a very good interview of President Bush on C-SPAN on Sunday, February 11, 2007 (click on link in Video/Audio Recent Programs section) at http://www.c-span.org/ .  It focuses initially on the Iraq War.  Bush makes good points.  He notes that outside Baghdad and Anbar province, Iraq is progressing somewhat toward normality.  He was not minimizing the problem of Baghdad, just noting that it was not the whole story. 

It seems pretty likely that we had the wrong model for Iraq up until the recent change in leadership of the war.  Which is not to say that progress was not made over the last 2 ½ years, particularly in the building of the Iraq Army, where we seem now to be well downfield of the scrimmage line.  It seems as if there has been an awakening in the White House in the closing months of last year.  I think that our role as citizens is to support  president Bush while not overlooking the errors of execution that have brought us to this point - i.e., he should know we support him in spite of the errors of execution, not in ignorance of them.

It seems very likely that General Petraeus has been given a different charter than any of our previous generals - to be our de facto if not de jure proconsul.  Meaning that he has been given the mission to win the war, as distinct from merely fighting it.  In terms of intellectual endeavor this is as 10 : 1.  There is some concern that Petraeus is too bookish for the job but given that we are fighting it in a counterinsurgency rather than a maximum violence mode, it seems likely that his background is the right one for this job.  We certainly have to hope so.

In his C-SPAN interview, Bush is at his best.  If he and the war have suffered from an insufficiency of introspection, the flip side is that Bush moves forward without ringing his hands at what might have been.  This is exactly what we need now, assuming, as I think the evidence supports, that he has learned lessons from our failure to date to achieve our goals.  We have to keep in mind that however subtle our approach might have been after Saddam's statue fell, the irreconcilability of the forces at work in Iraq may well have driven the situation to its current condition - like our Civil War, the current conflict may be in some sense an irrepressible conflict.  And its solution is likely to be piecemeal, both geographically and as to social function.  Corruption is likely to last a long time, but that does not preclude the emergence of a civil society, as seems to be happening outside the most violent areas.  We at AT have been pointing to the continued remarkable rally in the Iraqi dinar  as one possible indicator of an improving economy, for instance.

We have a new policy, a leadership in Washington alert to the dangers in Iraq in a way it seems not to have been before the end of last year, and now we have to put our confidence in our military leadership and in the troops - it will be the memory of the troops that will live on in Iraq when we are gone.  In spite of the foolish and ignorant things said recently in print about our troops by a commentator, they are the best we have and are the face of America upon which we cannot improve.
There was a very good interview of President Bush on C-SPAN on Sunday, February 11, 2007 (click on link in Video/Audio Recent Programs section) at http://www.c-span.org/ .  It focuses initially on the Iraq War.  Bush makes good points.  He notes that outside Baghdad and Anbar province, Iraq is progressing somewhat toward normality.  He was not minimizing the problem of Baghdad, just noting that it was not the whole story. 

It seems pretty likely that we had the wrong model for Iraq up until the recent change in leadership of the war.  Which is not to say that progress was not made over the last 2 ½ years, particularly in the building of the Iraq Army, where we seem now to be well downfield of the scrimmage line.  It seems as if there has been an awakening in the White House in the closing months of last year.  I think that our role as citizens is to support  president Bush while not overlooking the errors of execution that have brought us to this point - i.e., he should know we support him in spite of the errors of execution, not in ignorance of them.

It seems very likely that General Petraeus has been given a different charter than any of our previous generals - to be our de facto if not de jure proconsul.  Meaning that he has been given the mission to win the war, as distinct from merely fighting it.  In terms of intellectual endeavor this is as 10 : 1.  There is some concern that Petraeus is too bookish for the job but given that we are fighting it in a counterinsurgency rather than a maximum violence mode, it seems likely that his background is the right one for this job.  We certainly have to hope so.

In his C-SPAN interview, Bush is at his best.  If he and the war have suffered from an insufficiency of introspection, the flip side is that Bush moves forward without ringing his hands at what might have been.  This is exactly what we need now, assuming, as I think the evidence supports, that he has learned lessons from our failure to date to achieve our goals.  We have to keep in mind that however subtle our approach might have been after Saddam's statue fell, the irreconcilability of the forces at work in Iraq may well have driven the situation to its current condition - like our Civil War, the current conflict may be in some sense an irrepressible conflict.  And its solution is likely to be piecemeal, both geographically and as to social function.  Corruption is likely to last a long time, but that does not preclude the emergence of a civil society, as seems to be happening outside the most violent areas.  We at AT have been pointing to the continued remarkable rally in the Iraqi dinar  as one possible indicator of an improving economy, for instance.

We have a new policy, a leadership in Washington alert to the dangers in Iraq in a way it seems not to have been before the end of last year, and now we have to put our confidence in our military leadership and in the troops - it will be the memory of the troops that will live on in Iraq when we are gone.  In spite of the foolish and ignorant things said recently in print about our troops by a commentator, they are the best we have and are the face of America upon which we cannot improve.