Published: Thursday March 27, 2008
Speaking to the Times of London in an interview published Thursday, President George W. Bush declared that the latest wave of violence in Iraq yielded “a very positive moment in the development of a sovereign nation that is willing to take on elements that believe they are beyond the law.”
The Times headline?
“President Bush: Iraq violence is a ‘positive moment.'”
In an interview with The Times, he backed the Iraqi Government’s decision to “respond forcefully” to the spiralling violence by “criminal elements” and Shia extremists in Basra. “It was a very positive moment in the development of a sovereign nation that is willing to take on elements that believe they are beyond the law,” the President said.
Asked if British troops had retreated to the relative safety of the Basra airbase too hastily last year, Mr Bush said that the pullback had been “based upon success” in quelling violence, adding that he remained grateful for the contribution made by British Forces from “day one” of the war.
Mr Bush, who had spent the morning being briefed on Iraq by the Pentagon before an imminent announcement on US troop levels, said that despite “substantial gains” since the US military surge began last year, much work was needed to “maintain the success we’ve had”.
The Bush Administration has a history of turning violence into “positives.”
During the 2006 war in Lebanon, for example, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declared the Israeli attack as “birth pangs.”
“What we’re seeing here, in a sense, is the growing — the birth pangs of a new Middle East and whatever we do we have to be certain that we’re pushing forward to the new Middle East not going back to the old one,” Rice said.
During his interview with the Times, Bush disparaged those who want US troops to come home, and reinforced his power, saying as he has before, “I’m commander in chief.”
He averred that decisions would not be made by those who “scream the loudest” in calling for troops to come home.
“I understand people here want us to leave, regardless of the situation,” he said, “but that will not happen so long as I’m Commander-In-Chief.”