Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Its Always Darkest Just Before....

Spate of Good News Gives White House a Chance to Regroup

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 14, 2006; Page A01

In a White House that had virtually forgotten what good news looks like, the past few weeks have been refreshing. A Republican won a much-watched special congressional election. President Bush recruited a Wall Street heavy hitter as Treasury secretary. U.S. forces killed the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. And now the architect of the Bush presidency has avoided criminal charges.

The question is whether this latest updraft in Bush's fortunes will last much longer than the president's surprise trip yesterday to Iraq. Bush took full command of the political stage with his five-hour appearance in Baghdad, just days after the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and used it to showcase a new Iraqi government he hopes to turn the war over to eventually. Yet in the end, some analysts noted, it will matter only if this new government can heal societal schisms and stand up effective security forces.


This administration has a weird history of shooting itself in the foot not long after things start going well for it. Hopefully it has learned from previous mistakes and can keep succeeding. W's approval rate is on the verge of setting a record low which is not exactly what a President wants to go into the history books for especially if "failed war" is included in the same entry.

Following W's return from Iraq he did make it clear that no political pressure will cause him to withdraw troops and he made a point of showing that the Iraqi government is beginning to shoulder part of the burden for its own defense saying:

"The prime minister has taken immediate action to implement a plan to improve security, and his top priority is around Baghdad," Bush said. He said a U.S.-Iraqi operation to restore security to high-risk areas in Baghdad, dubbed "Operation Together Forward," started this morning. Participating in it are 26,000 Iraqi soldiers, 23,000 Iraqi police and "over 7,200 coalition forces,"

"Iraqi troops will increase the number of checkpoints, enforce a curfew and implement a strict weapons ban across the Iraqi capital,"


"Success in Iraq depends upon the Iraqis," Bush said. "If the Iraqis don't have the will to succeed, they're not going to succeed. . . . And so one of the things I went to Iraq to do was to, as best I possibly can, expel any doubt in my mind as to whether or not we have a partner that is going to do the hard work."

That last bit was a point W drove home repeatedly. I'm sure many had the feeling he was trying to say,"All future failures in Iraq are not my fault."

I hope that things go well enough that finger pointing isn't needed.