In an interview today with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, President Bush said he agreed with a recent op-ed arguing that the current spike of violence in Iraq could be the “jihadist equivalent” of the 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam, which was “widely credited with eroding support for President Johnson” and turning the American public against that war.
President Bush is right to finally admit that violence in Iraq has reached a tipping point, and that the U.S. is not winning the war as he has claimed. But the current violence is not a propaganda campaign by Iraqis to impact the U.S. elections, as he suggests. It is a civil war, one that he has repeatedly failed to acknowledge and has no plan to address.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Tom Friedman wrote in the New York Times this morning that what we might be seeing now is the Iraqi equivalent of the Tet Offensive in Vietnam in 1968. Tony Snow this morning said, “He may be right.” Do you agree?
BUSH: He could be right. There’s certainly a stepped up level of violence, and we’re heading into an election.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But what’s your gut tell you?
BUSH: George, my gut tells me that they have all along been trying to inflict enough damage that we’d leave. And the leaders of al Qaeda have made that very clear. Look, here’s how I view it. First of all, al Qaeda is still very active in Iraq. They are dangerous. They are lethal. They are trying to not only kill American troops, but they’re trying to foment sectarian violence. They believe that if they can create enough chaos, the American people will grow sick and tired of the Iraqi effort and will cause government to withdraw