President Bush will soon ignore the will of the American people and veto a bill that would set a timeline for ending U.S. involvement in Iraq’s civil war.
For the last several weeks, Bush and members of his administration have attacked proponents of a timeline, saying they were undermining U.S. generals and legislating defeat:
I believe artificial timetables of withdrawal would be a mistake. … I will strongly reject an artificial timetable withdrawal and/or Washington politicians trying to tell those who wear the uniform how to do their job. [President Bush, 4/23/07]
“The…attempt to micromanage our commanders is an unwise and perilous endeavor. It is impossible to argue that an unconditional timetable for retreat could serve the security interests of the United States or our friends in the region.” [Vice President Cheney, 4/13/07]
“He’s also in denial that a surrender date he thinks is a good idea. It is not a good idea. It is defeat. It is a death sentence for the millions of Iraqis who voted for a constitution, who voted for a government, who voted for a free and democratic society.” [Dana Perino, 4/23/07]
Flashback to 1999, when George W. Bush was governor of Texas. Then, Bush criticized President Clinton for not setting a timetable for exiting Kosovo.
George W. Bush, 4/9/99, Houston Chronicle:
“Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is.”
And on the specific need for a timetable:
George W. Bush, 6/5/99, Scripps Howard/Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
“I think it’s also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn.”
Despite his past statements, Bush now refuses to apply the same standard to his war and smears those who want a similar timetable for Iraq.
UPDATE: We’ve placed the full text of the 1999 articles online HERE.