(Photo by AFP/Mandel Ngan)
While the Decider is still deciderating what is what with the US Iraq policy — US troops and Iraqis are still being killed. The NYTimes has an infuriating profile of Mr. Pissy and his refusal to deal with any need for change until the very last minute.
But in the last two weeks, the critics and even some allies say, they have seen a reversal. Mr. Bush has shrugged off suggestions by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group that he enlist the help of Iran and Syria in the effort to stabilize Iraq. Countering suggestions that he begin thinking of bringing troops home, he has engaged in deliberations over whether to send more. And he has adjusted the voters’ message away from Iraq, saying on Wednesday, “I thought the election said they want to see more bipartisan cooperation.”
In a way, this is the president being the president he has always been — while he still can.
With Congress out of session, Mr. Bush has sought to reassert his relevance and show yet again that he can chart his own course against all prevailing winds, whether they be unfavorable election returns, a record-low standing in the polls or the public prescriptions of Washington wise men.
He has at least for now put the Iraq war debate on terms with which he is said to be more comfortable, if only because they are not the terms imposed on him by Democrats and the study group.
That stance could be short-lived.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet The Procrastinator-in-Chief.
The US death toll in Iraq has reached at least 2,978, according to Reuters, and there have been at least 89 deaths in December thus far. How many more daughters and sons, fathers and mothers will be killed before The Procrastinator decides to get off his butt, accept some responsibility and act like a grown-up and make some badly needed changes? How many times do we have to ask that question?
To say that things are not going well may be the understatement of the century. British troops have had to raze a police station in Basra that was operating as its own little torture unit. And AP reports that the appeal for Saddam Hussein's death sentence has been denied, and that the appeals court has declared that the death sentence ought to be imposed within the next thirty days — oh yeah, that's going to have a calming effect.
The cost in lives lost and limbs is astronomical. But when you begin to factor in the no-bid contracts and waste and fraud…well, there had better be some oversight. And soon.
The McCain-Lieberman War is spinning out of control, all the while the Procrastinator-In-Chief is scrambling to find a way to save face on the backs of the military personnel who are simply trying to keep their heads down in Iraq. This whirlwind is increasing in intensity and threatening to spread. Meanwhile, George Bush is hunkered down, worried about his legacy — what a craptastic way to make decisions that can impact the entire nation for generations to come that is.
Perhaps the President ought to start with Juan Cole's top ten myths about Iraq. It sure is an eye opener.