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December 28, 2003

STAYING THE COURSE --- FOR A TINY BIT ANYWAY

"Leaving Iraq prematurely would only embolden the terrorists and increase the danger to America. We are determined to stay, to fight and to win."
--Bush,
Nov. 1 radio address.
"The more progress we make on the ground, the more free the Iraqis become, the more electricity that's available, the more jobs are available, the more kids that are going to school, the more desperate these killers become," he said after a meeting at the White House with his senior administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer. "[They] can't stand the thought of a free society. They hate freedom. They love terror. They love to try to create fear and chaos." He added: "It's in the national interest of the United States that a peaceful Iraq emerges, and we will stay the course in order to achieve this."
-- Bush, Oct. 28, 2003
Sounding ebullient during a 47-minute news conference, Bush reaffirmed his determination "to stay the course until the job is done" in Iraq, signaling that the capture of Saddam was not prompting the White House to contemplate a speedier exit.
- Bush, NYT Dec. 15.

Real politik seems to be setting in where principal once stood. Our ambition seems to have swayed and will ebb, apparently about the time news is caught up in Democratic prrimary races. The Washington Post today:
With the administration's plans tempered by time and threat, the U.S. administrator of Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, and his deputies are now focused on forging compromises with Iraqi leaders and combating a persistent insurgency in order to meet a July 1 deadline to transfer sovereignty to a provisional government.

"There's no question that many of the big-picture items have been pushed down the list or erased completely," said a senior U.S. official involved in Iraq's reconstruction, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "Right now, everyone's attention is focused [on] doing what we need to do to hand over sovereignty by next summer."

The new approach, U.S. diplomats said, calls into question the prospects for initiatives touted by conservative strategists to fashion Iraq into a secular, pluralistic, market-driven nation. While the diplomats maintain those goals are still attainable, the senior official said, "ideology has become subordinate to the schedule."


Hat tip to Atrios for WaPo link