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Sweet column: Dems can't stop Bush Iraq troop buildup. For now. Bush finally admits, "mistakes have been made."

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President Bush, chastened and admitting his failed strategy in the four-year-old war in Iraq, is asking a skeptical nation to give him another chance to get it right.

"Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me," said Bush, using the passive voice in his speech from the White House library.

Mistakes?

Bush blamed the Iraq government for putting restrictions on U.S. troop movements, al-Qaida and radical Islamists more than the policy choices his administration made that never led to the creation of a democratic Iraq anchoring a peaceful Mideast.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) delivered the official Democratic response Bush's plan. "It is time for the Iraqis to stand up and defend their own nation," Durbin said.

With Bush's power as commander-in-chief, Durbin said the notion that even a Democratic Congress can actually stop more troop deployments is a "big mistake."

The other Illinois Democrat, Sen. Barack Obama, also is against a troop buildup.

Democrats are not using the word surge -- a word associated with the Bush plan -- because that word implies some temporary situation.

More is more. Bush wants to gamble on an escalation, a word Democrats deliberately are using because it evokes for some the Vietnam war.

Bush does not need permission to send more than 20,000 soldiers to Iraq.

They are going.

If he asked Congress today for any affirmation for what the White House is billing as "The New Way Forward in Iraq," the Congress would not give it to him.

The opposite is happening. Saddam Hussein is dead. No weapons of mass destruction were ever found. The premise for authorizing the war in the first place expired. Sen. Ted Kennedy is introducing legislation banning any more troops and dollars without congressional approval.

The war never ended the way Bush said it would. It never ended at all.

The U.S. soldiers were supposed to stand down when the Iraqis stood up. But they never did. A civil war erupted, with the root causes preceding U.S. troops by centuries.

Bush wants U.S. soldiers to stand up and Iraqis to stand up, too.

War critics, empowered by the November elections, want Iraqis to stand up. Then the U.S. military will, perhaps, have the public support to stand up, too.

Iraqis "must know that every time they call 911 we are not going to send 20,000 more American soldiers," Durbin said.

Much rests on Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his ability to govern and unite Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.

"The challenge playing out across the broader Middle East is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time," Bush said.

If that's the case, then Bush's package of military initiatives may be arriving years too late.

Find briefings, statements, transcripts on Iraq at blogs.suntimes.com/sweet

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2 Comments

This dictator-in-chief just keeps on ticking and there's nothing we can do about it. Even if the Dems veto or vote down spending increases or troop surge (what a word!), he can issue an executive order.

We will have to live with this war into the next generation. Let's hope that the draft is reinstated, that's the only way people will get serious about what's happening. Folks - Iraq aint our country! It's up to the Iraqis to take over their country and control it.

In response to President Bush's new 'Plan' I have but one thing to say that I'm sure we all feel: "NO, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH" I just learned today that a great longtime friend of mine is being practically forced to reenlist in the Army for 2 More Years and that more that likely she will be deployed again to IRAQ to serve her total '3rd' Tour of Duty since we launched the war on terror! Her family is devastated and all of us who care for her and the rest of our troops must again sweat day in and day out wondering if they will come home safe and sound! It is finally time we as Americans with the Freedom at hand write to our Senators and Representatives and tell them what they are going to do, not let them make decisions that they feel is in their best interests! If they're not up to the challenge then they need to leave office and we will replace them with someone who will speak for the country's behalf! PLEASE everyone who feels this way contact your elected officials and voice the freedom of speech that we are privileged enogh to have and tell them that 'ENOUGH IS ENOUGH' and we want our loved ones home and let the people of IRAQ govern themselves and fix their mess! I know this may not make the paper (I wish it could make the front page so that citizens could feel a sense of encouragement) but please if nothing else I hope I am not alone in writing about what's on the MAJORITY of American Tax Payer's minds. I am finishing with a final thought and one that runs through my head and my heart on a daily basis: "GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS AND GOD BLESS AMERICA" Thank you for your time!

Sincerely,

Matthew L. from North Riverside

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 11, 2007 6:38 AM.

Reacts from Rahm Emanuel, Jesse Jackson Jr., Joe Biden, John Shimkus, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jan Schakowsky, John Kerry, John Boehner, Roy Blunt, Russ Feingold was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet column: Hillary Clinton gets key endorsement for 2008 bid. is the next entry in this blog.

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