But sometimes, Quin, I think he doesn’t try hard enough. His press conference this morning had its high points, but some not so high. I was struck by his reluctance, as America’s leader, to accept full responsibility for Iraq policy. Instead, he seems to hide behind his commanders, as in these remarks:
“I have an obligation, a sincere and serious obligation, to hear out my commander on the ground. And I will take his recommendation.”
“I’m going to wait for David to come back — David Petraeus to come back and give us the report on what he sees.”
When later asked about if more troops should have been used from the outset, he commented:
“I mean, one of the questions is, should we have sent more in the beginning? Well, I asked that question, do you need more, to General Tommy Franks….My primary question to General Franks was, do you have what it takes to succeed? And do you have what it takes to succeed after you succeed in removing Saddam Hussein? And his answer was, yes.”
In the case of Petraeus, he gives the impression that he’s expecting the general to be his miracle worker or at least someone who’ll buy him some time. In the case of Franks, the president clearly implied that if anyone should be blamed it’s Franks and not he. Bush himself is now said to welcome being compared to Harry Truman, whom history has treated much better than his contemporaries did. If so, when do we see the Bush version of the buck stops here?
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