On Wednesday night, President Bush is expected to announce plans to escalate the war in Iraq by sending more U.S. troops. On June 28, 2005 — just 18 months ago — Bush said that sending more troops to Iraq would “undermine our strategy of encouraging Iraqis to take the lead” and “suggest that we intend to stay forever.” Watch it:
Bush prefaced his comments by saying that, “If our commanders on the ground say we need more troops, I will send them.” Last month, Gen. Abizaid revealed that he asked all the commanders on the ground and none of them wanted more troops. Shortly thereafter, Abizaid was replaced.
Some Americans ask me, if completing the mission is so important, why don’t you send more troops? If our commanders on the ground say we need more troops, I will send them. But our commanders tell me they have the number of troops they need to do their job. Sending more Americans would undermine our strategy of encouraging Iraqis to take the lead in this fight. And sending more Americans would suggest that we intend to stay forever, when we are, in fact, working for the day when Iraq can defend itself and we can leave. As we determine the right force level, our troops can know that I will continue to be guided by the advice that matters: the sober judgment of our military leaders.