July 03, 2007

White House Announces Alternative Benchmarks

"The Iraqi government is unlikely to meet any of the political and security goals or timelines President Bush set for it in January when he announced a major shift in U.S. policy, according to senior administration officials closely involved in the matter. As they prepare an interim report due next week, officials are marshaling alternative evidence of progress to persuade Congress to continue supporting the war." Washington Post, July 8, 2007.

[following is a transcript of President Bush's remarks today in a Rose Garden conference with the press - July 10, 2007]

Good afternoon. I'd like to make a reporting on significant new progress in the war on terror, specifically Iraq, where's the military is engaged in active ongoing operations against an entrenched foe and al-Qaeda. We're making steady progress, and I am in constant communication with actual military commanders on the ground. In other words, we're making good progress and I'm basing these assessment and other on what military personnel is saying directly instead of legislating a war plan in the Congress. Some of the highlight to specify or to make further note of include a number of perameters which is highly suggestible of good progress. In other words, toward a goal, which is victory, which is criteria we are constantly reviewing and not just staying the course.

Some of these indicators are folks just living their life in Baghdad now in peaceful ways that before was made harder by evildoers and killers who hate their freedoms and the new democracy and institutions which is developed. On a Tuesday in the third week of May, as just one example, a Shiite unemployed teacher had a kebab lunch with his family and two Sunnis were also there and enjoyed the fine food. In other words not all this civil war talk you hear so much around this town really is like that. It's not all death squads.

Since 9-11 the world has changed. These foe are determined and will not give up their desperate fight on a Congress timetable. Six more years later after 9-11 when America was attacked by a ruthless ideology. We're taking the attack to these same ruthless foe now. In other words, we've gone on offense since 9-11.

Some perameters which can be seen in Iraq now includes fewer dead bodies on the Baghdad streets on typical mornings. In other words, fewer corpses. Today we are finding fewer bodies and often the heads are still attached. There is still too many headless bodies and drill holes in the skulls, often though with fewer drill holes than one more year before these count. Exploding cars in Baghdad are downward also with fewer cars actually blowing up on many days. In other words the streets can be more peaceful with less cars exploding in Baghdad. Also we are not counting the dead bodies from car bombs because too many Americans we're seeing cars blow up in their TVs and thinking that no progress was being made because of body counts, which we do not do. Far too many mosques are being blown up in Baghdad still, often in acts to retaliate because one group, the Sunnis, will blow up a mosque of the Shia. Then the Shia will often blow up a mosque which is Sunni. In other words, tit for tat. This is sectarian violence which is ongoing in Iraq, but some perameters are trending down, though not all or as many as you would like yet. Also our focus is al Qaeda, the same murdering ideology which changed the world by attacking us on 9-11 and we are taking the battle to the enemy. In other words not just waiting to be hit again. Iraq continues to step up so we can step down with many units fully operational according to commanders on the ground who report to me, although morale problems and the militia problem remains problematical, with units not always reporting for duty, but fewer incidents of Iraq army units we trained fighting against as militia are being reported.

The Iraq Parliament cut short its summer vacation and are in the Green Zone, where security remains good, although commanders do report daily attacks by evildoers on the Zone by mortar and artillery. Even in these conditions the brave new democracy meets and talks and while they do not yet have a oil law or any power sharing agreement, democracy is hard work. In other words you talk and then you agree, and Prime Minister Maliki, who reports often to me, is assuring this kind of talking and progress through agreement.

The biggest mistake we could make would be to heed the call of some who want to break off the fight with al Qaeda now when progress is steady, not as fast as we or other wants, but toward a goal of a stable Iraq. I urge the Congress to see the plan through and to give it a real chance to work. I would be glad to take any questions now.

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