Thursday, March 31, 2005

BUSH ADMITS TO SOME MISTAKES IN IRAQ

From wire services

WASHINGTON D.C. - In an unexpectedly lengthy and circumspect news conference at the White House today, President Bush admitted that some of the evidence that led the U.S. to go to war in Iraq may have been "embellished" and he announced plans to withdraw the bulk of U.S. troops within the next 12 to 18 months.

What was expected to be a 20-minute news conference that focused primarily on domestic issues, particularly Social Security, turned into a nearly 55-minute encounter than dealt with a wide range of subjects, including some of the most controversial policies of Bush's administration.

In light of news that the Ukraine would be pulling it's troops out of Iraq in the next year, a reporter asked the President if the United States felt confident in scaling back it's military forces in Iraq anytime soon. "Let me answer that by saying that first and foremost, we remain in Iraq to secure democracy and help keep the peace. But I've had talks with Condi, Rumsfeld and our top commanders and I can see a time, over the next 12 to 18 months, where we can begin to give some more of our responsibilities to the local Iraqi army and police and then gradually begin to bring our reservists home. They have fought admirably, they have defended democracy well and they deserve a chance to return home to their families in the near future."

When told that this was in contradiction to recent statements indicating that U.S. troops would be in Iraq for the long haul, President Bush replied that our nation's foreign policy was "evolving," and that it wouldn't be the first time that we've had to adjust after making mistakes in our policy towards Iraq.

"At first we believed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, we believed that Saddam may have even kept some in Baghdad itself," the President said. "But looking at the evidence more closely we realized that there were flaws and even outright errors in the intelligence. But we had to go forward in Iraq anyway, because people were suffering and we knew that Saddam still posed a threat to the region. That's why after the invasion, we changed the message to more of one about liberation, instead of focusing on the weapons of mass destruction which may or may not have been there."

Elsewhere during the press conference, President Bush also said that it was tougher going on Social Security reform than he thought it would be, especially since "people aren't really buying the numbers on when the program will go insolvent." President Bush said his administration was working on making up new numbers and hoped to have those out by the middle of May.

The President also took time to praise Condoleeza Rice's diplomatic efforts around the globe. Curiously, his comments took on a strangely personal, almost intimate tone. "Condi has been great for America, great for this administration and great for me," the President said somewhat wistfully. "There's no finer woman in this country than Condoleeza Rice and I think she's going to prove to be the best Secretary of State this nation has ever seen, no disrespect meant to what's-his-name from the first term." --

Happy April Fools Day. If only President Bush were really that entertaining and forthright...

Peace.
Dissents and Laments

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