I was not exactly a fan of George W. Bush and have no intention of buying his new book, and my friends know better than to give it to me for Christmas. Yesterday I became aware of a chapter in the former President’s book dealing with events of September 2006. The war in Iraq was bogged down; Americans were starting to really get sick of it; costs were spiraling out of control; Iraq was teetering on the brink of open civil war; and Mitch McConnell came to visit the President in the White House to talk about the war.
President Bush’s account of the meeting is that McConnell advised the Commander in Chief to begin pulling out of Iraq and to start ending the war.
Not because of the American lives (and treasure) being wasted there; not because it had nothing to do with capturing bin Laden; not because the American people were weary of another long, drawn-out and expensive war; not because it was becoming apparent that we were not making any progress; but because McConnell feared the Republicans would take it on the chin in the upcoming elections.
All this, while, as you may recall, McConnell was publicly railing against the Democrats who wanted withdrawal, calling them unpatriotic and echoing Cheney’s line (at least, that’s who I think originated it) that if we don’t kill them (the terrorists) “over there”, they’ll follow us home and kill us “over here.” I know President Bush uttered the trite phrase many times, but Cheney was really running the show. And McConnell repeated the line countless times.
As you also recall, President Bush, rather than beginning a draw-down of troops from Ira q, instead ordered an escalation (“The Surge”), which McConnell publicly supported.
It is this kind of duplicity that so erodes any remaining faith I have in our government’s ability to formulate effective foreign policy.