Sullivan on Bush’s press conference today:
He’s saying he agrees with his Republican critics. He’s blaming the generals for all the combat decisions that have made this war a failure. His blaming Tommy Franks specifically for the troop levels was particularly piquant.
DC—Departing from his usual hopeful rhetoric during a question-and-answer session with reporters in the White House Rose Garden, President Bush suggested Tuesday that the war in Iraq has not been successful because the nation’s armed forces are “just not very good.”
“When the decision was made to liberate Iraq, I was going on what my advisers were telling me and what everyone has said for nearly a century—that the U.S. military is the best in the world,” Bush said. “But if that were the case, and we did have the most powerful army, navy, marines, and air force on the globe, we would be winning, right?”
The major thing the Onion got wrong is that Bush held his press conference on a Thursday.
A relevant excerpt from the transcript:
Well, I asked that question, “Do you need more?” to General Tommy Franks.
In the first phase of this operation, General Franks, you know, was obviously in charge.
And during our discussions in the run-up to the decision to remove Saddam Hussein after he ignored the Security Council resolutions, my primary question to General Franks was: Do you have what it takes to succeed? And do you have what it takes to succeed after you succeed in removing Saddam Hussein?
And his answer was yes.
It is funny how commanders who tell the president what he doesn’t want to hear tend to get fired. Ask Peter Pace, or Eric Shinseki. It’s easy to rely on the advice of commanders who know they will lose their job if they contradict you.