Not so long ago, President Bush said he would maintain his policy in Iraq even if the only folks left supporting him were First Lady Laura Bush and his dog Barney (fuck the new dog, Mrs. Beazley, who always seemed wishy washy on Iraq anyway). Well, Bush may be facing that day sooner than later. With the American public, conservative talkingheads, and even Rummy calling for course correction in Iraq, will Bush be big enough to swallow his pride and do it? He's talking a good game right now.
"I'm listening to the Iraqis, I'm going to listen to members of Congress, I want to listen to Baker-Hamilton," Bush told Fox News.
But listening and hearing are different things. Action is another thing altogether. This President doesn't have a good track record for cooperation or flexibility. Four years of "stay the course" will require some big time eating of humble pie and Bush has never struck me as the type to savor that flavor.
There may be hope in his nomination for Defense Secretary, Bob Gates. By acknowledging that we're currently failing in Iraq, there's a certain level of realism in this man.
Asked point-blank by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., whether the U.S. is winning in Iraq, Gates replied, "No, sir."
But even Gates is hedging his bets a bit. He later said he believes the United States is neither winning nor losing, "at this point."
The first rule of recovery is acknowledging there's a problem. Bush hasn't been able to do that and it remains to be seen whether new voices whispering in his ear—from James baker to Bob Gates—can make a difference. After all, he is the Commander in Chief and, yes, the decider.