Why is the Guardian story about the Bush/Iraq Study Group plan to increase troop strength by 20,000 (and say "Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me" to Democrats) headlined "US Plans Last Big Push in Iraq"? This isn't Bush's "last" anything in Iraq.
And why does "a former senior administration official" tell us that Bush "knows he's got less than a year, maybe six months, to make it work. If it fails, I expect the withdrawal process to begin next fall"? Bush is never, ever, ever going to acknowledge failure, or begin the withdrawal process -- not next fall, not in 2008, never.
And in reference to a planned push for increased international cooperation ("This could involve the convening of an international conference of neighbouring countries or more direct diplomatic, financial and economic involvement of US allies such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait"), why even bother to quote the following?
"The extent to which that [regional cooperation] will include talking to Iran and Syria is still up for debate," said Patrick Cronin, of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. "Externally, US policy is focused on what is achievable. Some quarters believe Syria in some ways could be helpful. There are more doubts about Iran but Iran holds more cards. Some think it's worth a try."
Yesterday, a top state department official, David Satterfield, said America was prepared in principle to discuss with Iran its activities in Iraq.
Bush's administration is never going to talk to people he's already decided it's never going to talk to, because he's already decided, and he's the decider, and so it's not going to happen.
Why did we even let the word "bipartisan" pass our lips? Why did we fall for the image of Wayward Son W being brought to heel by his daddy's retainers? The thing about incorrigibly defiant children is that you can't control them. If the Iraq Study Group hadn't given him this out, well, he was going to do what he wanted anyway -- after all, he'd hastily convened his own pseudo-Iraq Study Group to tell him what he wanted to hear.
I don't know how bad this would have to get before anything changed. I'm afraid we're going to get to find out.
And I guess now we know why Rumsfeld had to go. His version of "stay the course" was, very precisely, to "stay the course." It wasn't "do whatever will piss the Democrats off most and most clearly make the case that Bush is The Man, but only after the election, and it mustn't require a draft or imply that anything up to now has been a mistake."