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I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The death of another talking point.

By Blue Texan

By Blue Texan -- From today's New York Times ("General Opposes Adding to US Forces in Iraq"): (Updated below)

As the new secretary of defense, Robert M. Gates, takes stock of the war in Iraq this week, he will find Gen. John P. Abizaid, the senior commander in the Middle East, resistant to increasing the American fighting force there. General Abizaid...argues that foreign troops are a toxin bound to be rejected by Iraqis, and that expanding the number of American troops merely puts off the day when Iraqis are forced to take responsibility for their own security.

His assessment, which includes plans to increase the number of American trainers embedded with Iraqi units, is supported by Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the senior American commander in Iraq, as well as by the Joint Chiefs of Staff...

George W. Bush, 6/28/05

Sending more Americans would undermine our strategy of encouraging Iraqis to take the lead in this fight. And sending more Americans would suggest that we intend to stay forever, when we are, in fact, working for the day when Iraq can defend itself and we can leave. As we determine the right force level, our troops can know that I will continue to be guided by the advice that matters: the sober judgment of our military leaders.

Scott McClellan, 11/29/05

We will look to our commanders - and I think that's one thing the President will emphasize in his remarks, that it's our commanders who should be determining what our troop levels are in the country, and they make those decisions based on the conditions and circumstances on the ground and that those decisions should not be made by politicians in Washington.

George W. Bush, 11/30/05

These decisions about troop levels will be driven by the conditions on the ground in Iraq and the good judgment of our commanders -- not by artificial timetables set by politicians in Washington.

George W. Bush, 1/1/06


As the Iraqis are able to take more of the fight to the enemy, our commanders on the ground will be able to make a different assessment about the troop strength. And I'm going to continue to rely upon those commanders, such as General Casey, who is doing a fabulous job and whose judgment I trust, and that will determine -- his recommendations will determine the number of troops we have on the ground in Iraq.


George W. Bush, 2/1/06

So I will make my decisions based upon what these commanders tell me...And if they say these Iraqis are capable of taking the fight, they're there firsthand to tell me that, and then we'll reduce our troops based upon their recommendation, not based upon the politics in Washington, D.C.


Scott McClellan, 3/13/06


It's important to let our military commanders, who are in the best position, to manage the war on terrorism and to carry out the war on terrorism. They're the ones who are in the best position to call the shots.


George W. Bush, 3/13/06


And my decisions on troop levels will be made based upon the conditions on the ground, and the recommendations of our military commanders -- not artificial timetables set by politicians here in Washington, D.C.


Dick Cheney, 3/17/06

And as always, decisions about troop levels will be driven by the conditions on the ground and the judgment of our commanders -- not by artificial timelines set by politicians in Washington, D.C.

Scott McClellan, 3/23/06


Our commanders on the ground
-- the President has made it very clear repeatedly that our commanders on the ground will make the determinations about our troop levels, based on conditions.


George W. Bush, 10/25/06

I trust our commanders on the ground to give the best advice about how to achieve victory.


George W. Bush, 10/25/06


Absolutely, we're winning.

George W. Bush 12/20/06

We're not winning, we're not losing.

UPDATE:

Via Atrios, Think Progress notes that John Kerry wanted to increase the size of the military in 2004, and President Bush insisted that his proposal would make us "less safe."

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