Josh Marshall says the following
Is it just me or has George W. Bush checked out of the stumbling national crisis we know as 'Iraq'?
I know his name shows up in the headlines. He's meeting Iraq Prime Minister Maliki next week in Amman. Vice President Cheney is shuttling to Saudi Arabia. And all of this is being billed as a part of a new and broader 'regional' approach to getting the conflict under some measure of control.
But I don't hear the president. Not his voice. The one thing that's been a constant over the last three and a half years is the president as the voice of American Iraq policy. Whether he's the author of it is another question entirely. But the voice and pitbull of it, always.
And yet since the election he seems to have disappeared from the conversation entirely. Like he's just checked out. It's not his thing anymore.
To a degree, this has been the case since early 2004 -- the point by which it was clear the entire effort was a failure. But politics -- first his reelection and then the 2006 election -- has kept him powerfully in the game, constantly arguing staying the course or cutting and running or how a rebuke for his policies would amount to a win for the terrorists.
But now the rebuke has been given. And what is more than that he validated it, confirmed the rejection by summarily firing his Defense Secretary. By doing so, he admitted (even if he can't quite admit it to himself) that his war policy has been a failure.
With that admission out of the way, there's really no more cheerleading to be done for the whole effort. It's a hard slog, a tortuous battle to find some least bad outcome to the whole affair.
Back when he was riding high President Bush used to say that he 'didn't do nuance' -- a point on which he was unquestionably right. And that being the case, there's just nothing left for him to say. No more chest-thumping or rah-rah or daring his opponents to say he's wrong. So he's just gone silent. Like it's not his problem any more.
He's gonna bail.
posted by Steve @ 1:28:00 AM