When President Bush announced the escalation on January 10, 2007, he claimed the purpose of adding more troops into Iraq’s civil war was to enable political reconciliation:
When this happens, daily life will improve, Iraqis will gain confidence in their leaders, and the government will have the breathing space it needs to make progress in other critical areas. Most of Iraq’s Sunni and Shia want to live together in peace — and reducing the violence in Baghdad will help make reconciliation possible.
More than seven months later, the Bush’s predictions have flopped. Political reconciliation has not occurred, and its prospects look bleak. As a result, the White House is now in the process of moving the goal posts, dropping its prior demands that Iraqi leaders meet certain political benchmarks in order to sustain the escalation.
In a press briefing today, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe disingenuously claimed that the purpose of the surge was simply “to help bring security to Iraq”:
QUESTION: Is it still administration policy that the U.S. commitment in Iraq is not open-ended?
JOHNDROE: I think the president has made it clear that he would eventually like to see the United States in a different configuration in Iraq. There’s no doubt about that. The surge was designed, as we have said repeatedly, to help bring security to Iraq.
That’s not what the White House was saying back in January. Tony Snow, discussing the purpose of the escalation, said it was to achieve the “important business of political reconciliation“:
Surge is not a term I’ve ever used. But the point is you’re trying to add strength to the forces in Iraq so that they’re going to be successful in taking out sectarian violence and also al Qaeda violence, so that you have the conditions under which people can pursue the important business of political reconciliation and economic development.
As old justifications for staying in Iraq are tossed aside and new ones are proffered, the White House reveals its motives for what they truly are — a desire to establish a long-term occupation of Iraq.
UPDATE: D-Day has more.