Saturday, July 14, 2007

Does Bush Understand "Commander-in-Chief"?

Serious concerns and criticism of the President from serious conservatives:

...I was struck by his reluctance, as America's leader, to accept full responsibility for Iraq policy. Instead, he seems to hide behind his commanders, as in these remarks:

"I have an obligation, a sincere and serious obligation, to hear out my commander on the ground. And I will take his recommendation."

"I'm going to wait for David to come back -- David Petraeus to come back and give us the report on what he sees."

When later asked about if more troops should have been used from the outset, he commented:

"I mean, one of the questions is, should we have sent more in the beginning? Well, I asked that question, do you need more, to General Tommy Franks....My primary question to General Franks was, do you have what it takes to succeed? And do you have what it takes to succeed after you succeed in removing Saddam Hussein? And his answer was, yes."

In the case of Petraeus, he gives the impression that he's expecting the general to be his miracle worker or at least someone who'll buy him some time. In the case of Franks, the president clearly implied that if anyone should be blamed it's Franks and not he. Bush himself is now said to welcome being compared to Harry Truman, whom history has treated much better than his contemporaries did. If so, when do we see the Bush version of the buck stops here?

--"Wlady", the publisher of the American Spectator.

A later entry in the same blog amplifies:

....I would have criticized most strongly is the one you highlighted, namely the answer about Tommy Franks. When the question was asked, I started talking out loud to my TV set, saying, "PLEASE answer this right, please do it right, please..."-- and then found myself getting angry when he again refused to acknowledge that no matter where the advice came from about troop levels, the advice was wrong, wrong, wrong, dead freaking WRONG. He would gain so much politically if he would ever, directly and unambiguously, admit that he personally has made an error in decisionmaking, and that he has LEARNED from it. The extreme lack of confidence so many people have (concerning Bush and his judgment and competence) stems in large part from the sense that he never learns, never adjusts (or unless not until WAY too late), never even admits to himself that he can possibly be or have been wrong, and therefore doesn't ever IMPROVE on bad performance. It drives me nuts. One letter writer today said Bush's mind seems "hermetically sealed," and her impression is definitely understandable.

That from Quin Hillyer.

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