May 26, 2006


Bush, Blair admit Iraq errors (The Associated Press, 5/26/06)

President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair acknowledged costly mistakes and difficult times in the Iraq war they launched together in 2003, but they insisted that enough progress has been made that other nations should support the new Iraqi government.

While Bush increasingly has begun to acknowledge missteps in handling the war, his comments at the joint news conference Thursday — together with Blair's — represent his most explicit acknowledgment that the administration underestimated the difficulty of the central project of his presidency.

Bush said he regrets his cowboy rhetoric after the Sept. 11 attacks, such as his "wanted dead or alive" description of Osama bin Laden and his taunting "bring 'em on" challenge to Iraqi insurgents.

"In certain parts of the world, it was misinterpreted."

He also cited the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners at the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. "We've been paying for that for a long time," Bush said.

But, he said, "Despite setbacks and missteps, I strongly believe we did and are doing the right thing."

Blair regretted the way in which Saddam Hussein's political allies were purged soon after the fall of Baghdad. Critics have said the sudden purge left a security vacuum in Iraq and encouraged former regime loyalists to take up arms against the newly installed government.

Blair also said allies seriously underestimated the insurgency.

"It should have been very obvious to us" from the beginning, Blair said.

He said he and Bush should have recognized that the fall of President Saddam Hussein would not "be the rise of a democratic Iraq, that it was going to be a more difficult process" because "you're talking about literally building the institutions of a state from scratch."

Pretty hard to picture Churchill and FDR apologizing for talking too tough in their radio broadcasts, being too mean to the Nazis, and purging the regime afterwards.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 26, 2006 8:22 AM

This new-age mumbo-jumbo is for media consumption so they can feast on their second* favorite subject, mistakes were made, while a real orchestration is going on -- the closing bars of which will be played prior to the election in November when the media will again be caught off guard.

It may be just wishful thinking, but Bush/Blair et al have landed on their feet so far and I believe they'll do it again this time.

*The first favorite being, of course, lies were told.

Posted by: erp at May 26, 2006 8:49 AM

This confirms for anyone paying attention that the war in Iraq ... for the Anglosphere ... is effectively over. And that we've achieved our key objectives. The timing is hardly accidental.

Posted by: ghostcat at May 26, 2006 12:08 PM

There was some sizable speculation that this meeting would lead to troop withdrawal announcements. Doesn't seem to be the case so far.

Posted by: AWW at May 26, 2006 3:18 PM

That comes AFTER the Iraqis select their Defense and Interior ministers.

Posted by: ghostcat at May 26, 2006 5:14 PM