Friday, August 27, 2004

a first

Bush Acknowledges Iraq 'Miscalculation'
WASHINGTON - President Bush said for the first time on Thursday he made a "miscalculation of what the conditions would be" after U.S. troops went to Iraq, The New York Times reported. The insurgency, he maintained, was the unintended result of a "swift victory" that led to Iraqi troops disappearing into the cities and mounting a rebellion.

Bush also told the newspaper he did not believe his Democratic opponent had lied about his time in Vietnam. The group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has aired advertisements challenging John Kerry's account of his service, and claiming Kerry lied about circumstances surrounding his war medals. Kerry has accused Bush of using the group as a front to run a smear campaign. "I think Senator Kerry should be proud of his record," Bush said. "No, I don't think he lied."

Public opinion initially favored Bush's decision to go to war but, after months of casualties and chaos, the public is evenly divided on the subject now. In a separate interview with USA Today, Bush said Thursday that he believes he made the right decision to invade Iraq and thinks voters will not deny him a second term even if they disagree with the war.

i'm not really sure what this is going to mean, but it's major news. this is either the first time or one of the very first times that the bush administration has admitted to making a mistake; certainly it's the first time that they've said (and not only 'they,' but bush) that iraq didn't quite pan out. I have no idea whether this will be good or bad for him, but i think it was a smart and well timed move by the bush campaign. it follows a recent pattern - bush makes a small concession once, e.g. saying something positive about kerry's war record, and then scott mclellan uses it as a sweeping answer to inconvenient questions.

so i do think this will help bush, but i also think it's a sign of fear in the reelection campaign. bush has now taken the at least reasonable stance on iraq - that mistakes were made, so he can deflect criticism of the war without actually admitting that the whole damn thing was a mistake. in fact, it's such an utterly reasonable statement, i really don't understand why it wasn't made a long time ago. it's clearly a move to convince undecided voters who are dissatisfied with the war that the war shouldn't in and of it self be reason not to vote for bush. which, of course, it is.