MI:2 Plan for Victory

President Bush's Iraq Victory Speech(Pre-speech photo via Wonkette).

Tom Raum, who has covered Washington for AP through five presidents and over 30 years writes:

President Bush came as close as he ever has to admitting mistakes on Iraq Wednesday, acknowledging setbacks and uneven results in the training of Iraqi troops in his latest defense of the war 2 1/2 years after he first declared victory.

George W. Bush finally did what he always feared doing: he announced how we would win the war, at the risk of threatening the troops by spreading formerly classified information to the public today at the US Naval Academy (transcript).

Not really. The National Strategy for Victory in Iraq, as its written, was composed earlier this month according to its datestamp, despite White House claims to have been operating according to the plan since 2003.

Listen to the November 30 Talk of the Nation from NPR for a great conversation on this speech featuring James Fallows and Michael Rubin.

A couple insights from across the blogosphere:

Marc Cooper took the wayback machine and found that the “old Nixon game plan seems tailor-cut for Bush.” Seems text of the speech may have been leaked to Cooper as he vowed to sleep through the president’s “major” announcement.

Cafe Politico says there was hardly any evidence of a plan being revealed, suggesting the title: “Lots of Testosterone-Inspired Soundbites Minus Any Specifics.”

David Corn bites his lip and delivers an insightful analysis of the speech at his blog.

Sens. Kerry and Reid released statements to the effect of: “yo, I don’t think so.”

The Left Coaster says that in addition to the typical rhetoric, Bush “retreated back to his strategy of 2000. It?s him and the people of America against the entrenched political forces in DC.”

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Donald Rumsfeld Hands
Tuesday, Donald Rumsfeld had an “epiphany,” and like all of his previous epiphanies, this one resonated very little with the actual military players don’t come across like Rummy, who speaks as if he is “merely observing the Iraq war on television,”Dana Milbank wrote in the Post. Here is some of the exchange he had with his new Joint Chief of Staff:

[A]sked about torture by Iraqi authorities, Rumsfeld replied that “obviously, the United States does not have a responsibility” other than to voice disapproval.

But [Gen. Peter] Pace had a different view. “It is the absolute responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene, to stop it,” the general said.

Rumsfeld interjected: “I don’t think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it; it’s to report it.”

But Pace meant what he said. “If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it,” he said, firmly.

I’m glad we cleared that up. Rumsfeld should have begun the press conference with the anecdote he used to close it:

“I just don’t know…. I can only talk about what I know.” [exaggerated shrug] “That’s life.”

Finally, earlier today AP released a list of about 40 international civilians believed to still be kidnapped throughout Iraq.

“Don’t Bomb Us!” – Al Jazeera Blog

While browsing the impressive, award-winning Global Voices blog, I came across this brand new blog launched this week by three Al-Jazeera staffers. Don’t Bomb Us is definitely worth following.

Tariq Ayoub, al Jazeera’s Baghdad correspondent, was killed by a U.S. airstrike in April 2003. On Thursday, staffers and supporters of Al Jazeera held photos of Ayoub outside the network’s Doha, Qatar headquarters in protest of the memo in which President Bush reportedly suggested bombing Al Jazeera during a meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, according to the London Times. Ayoub’s widow is considering suing the U.S.

The Guardian has a background article on the Bush/Blair meetings that are the source of the memo in question.

UPDATE: British MP and editor of the UK Spectator Boris Johnson is prepared to go to jail for the opportunity to print the four page Bush-Blair memo. Other journalists are set to follow his lead. The world was prepared to slough aside the Mirror’s claims in regards to the memo’s contents until it became clear that the UK has taken extreme measures to protect against the publishing of its contents, threatening jail…. is it only a matter of time?