George W. Bush, last week:
"As we speak, Iraqi security forces are waging a tough battle against militia fighters and criminals, in Basra, many of whom have received arms and training and funding from Iran," Bush said in his address at the U.S. Air Force national museum in Dayton, Ohio.
"Prime Minister (Nouri) Maliki’s bold decision, and it was a bold decision, to go after the illegal groups in Basra shows … the progress the Iraqi security forces have made during the surge."
More than 1,000 Iraqi soldiers and policemen either refused to fight or simply abandoned their posts during the inconclusive assault against Shiite militias in Basra last week, a senior Iraqi government official said Thursday. Iraqi military officials said the group included dozens of officers, including at least two senior field commanders in the battle.
The desertions in the heat of a major battle cast fresh doubt on the effectiveness of the American-trained Iraqi security forces. The White House has conditioned further withdrawals of American troops on the readiness of the Iraqi military and police.
And so it goes.