Bush on Abizaid: "he's a smart guy"
Dan Froomkin reports
the following: (excerpts)
Bush [had a] one-hour Oval Office interview yesterday afternoon with a half-dozen conservative journalists.
... Bush said he owes his conviction that leaving equals losing to Gen. John P. Abizaid, the Central Command chief who oversees military operations in the Middle East.
Here's Bush, in his opening remarks:
"Abizaid, who I think is one of the really great thinkers, John Abizaid -- I don't know if you've ever had a chance to talk to him, he's a smart guy -- he came up with this construct: If we leave, they will follow us here. That's really different from other wars we've been in. If we leave, okay, so they suffer in other parts of the world, used to be the old mantra. This one is different. This war is, if they leave, they're coming after us. As a matter of fact, they'll be more emboldened to come after us. They will be able to find more recruits to come after us.
If we leave, they will follow us. That is absurd. Why would terrorists choose to fight the U.S. Army, when they could attack unarmed civilians in the United States. You can be sure, that for Iraq at least
, that if we leave, nobody is going to follow anybody anywhere.
And Bush presumably thinks "if we leave, they will follow" is something smart people say.
Clearly, Bush has no concept of what's going on.
George W has put Gen. Abizaid in a box. If Gen. Abizaid responds that he did not say nor think that if the US got out of Iraq that "they" would follow us here, then he would be saying that George W is a liar, or at least wrong. But would that be smart of Gen. Abizaid who is probably looking to retire soon with as big a pension as possible, and perhaps a Presidential Medal (like Bremer and Tenat were given following their failures)? George W as Commander-in-Chief can pull the chain at any time. Colin Powell declined to fall on his sword. Don't expect Abizaid to, either. In any event, George W has Casey, General Casey, that is, at the bat; and Casey is not about to step out of the batter's box. Yes, George W is going to listen to his Generals, but what can they say under the circumstances that may differ from George W's rants?