Just how long is the issue of the day in Iraq-obsessed Washington. And frighteningly, no one seems more confused about the plan than Bush himself. In two separate appearances in the last week, he alternately invoked last fall’s Baker-Hamilton report—which envisioned a substantial pullout by early 2008—and America’s South Korea occupation, which has been a robust front-line presence for more than 50 years. Which is it?The entire time Bush has been in office his public pronouncements have consisted of saying whatever is most expedient to him at the time, with no regard to the ways in which he may be contradicting members of his administration or even what he might have previously said. NCLB, sending astronauts to Mars, the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, repeated commitments to fight AIDS both in the US and worldwide - all of these have been grand-sounding statements and proposals that have been ignored, left unfunded or otherwise neglected once the short-term political benefits had been reaped.
Neither, as it turns out. The Washington commentariat has suggested recently that Bush seems ready to pronounce the imminent end of his “surge,” which by several accounts has failed both to secure large parts of Baghdad and, on a more strategic level, to prod the still-paralyzed Iraqi government to govern. “I would like to see us in a different configuration at some point in time in Iraq,” the president said at a Rose Garden news conference on May 24. So is he talking about a “Plan B?” he was asked. “Actually, I would call that a plan recommended by Baker-Hamilton, so it would be a Plan B-H,” the president joked.
In fact Bush has no intention of going back to Baker-Hamilton, says a senior White House official.