"Undercutting Bush’s claims of success in Anbar."
Today, President Bush held the Anbar province up as an example of his escalation’s success and justification for why the troop buildup should not be cut short:
In Anbar you’re seeing firsthand the dramatic differences that can come when the Iraqis are more secure. … You see Sunnis who once fought side by side with al-Qaida against coalition troops now fighting side by side with coalition troops against al-Qaida.
But as the AP points out, “In truth, the progress in Anbar was initiated by the Iraqis themselves, a point Gates himself made, saying the Sunni tribes decided to fight and retake control from al-Qaida many months before Bush decided to send an extra 4,000 Marines to Anbar as part of his troop buildup.”
UPDATE: “Though Mr. Bush never left the confines of the air base on his six-hour visit, he declared: ‘I have come here today to see with our own eyes the remarkable changes that are taking place in Anbar Province.'”