Keith Fernandez" />
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Thursday, October 5, 2023


Bush rhetoric shows waning confidence

President Bush addressed an eager nation last week on Thursday to confirm that our country plans to withdraw part of its military from Iraq.

The war in Iraq began on March 20, 2003 with a United States-led invasion into the country after, former Prime Minister of the U.K. Tony Blair and other supporters asserted that Iraq was making weapons of mass destruction. To date, no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq.

"Because of the measure of success we are seeing in Iraq, troops can come home," Bush said as he slowly explained his troop withdrawal plan.

According to an outline provided by Bush’s recent speech, the first withdrawal would be at the end of the month with 2,200 Marines departing; another withdrawal of 3,500 troops from an Army Combat Brigade by December. And by July, four more Army brigades will be leaving slightly ahead of their planned return home. This would send roughly 5,700 troops home by Christmas and another 16,000 troops home by next July.

Approximately 21,500 troops would be pulled out of the country by July 2008. This reduction would reduce force numbers to about 130,000, bringing the number back down to about the same number of troops before the January build-up. There are about 169,000 troops in Iraq.

Bush acknowledged that Iraq’s government failed to meet the goals set for political reconciliation and security. Of the 18 benchmarks set for the Iraqi government, nine were deemed to be satisfactory. This shows a sense of defeat in the progress that Iraq has been making.

Not all were happy with the President’s speech to the nation. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., was very unimpressed by the troop withdrawal that was outlined by Bush.

"The president failed to provide a plan to successfully end the war or a convincing rationale to continue it. This plan does not amount to real change," Reed said.

The withdrawal seems to only be balancing off the troop commitment made earlier this year; with his plan to return them over a slow period of time, there seems to be no promise for an end anytime soon. In his address to the nation, Bush explained that the war would continue past the end of his term in January 2009, and that it would be up to his successor to end the war.

This may be the only troop removal that takes place during the remainder of his term, as it was made apparent that he would not be ending the war.

The troop removal seems to come only after a brief period of time in which Gen. David Petraeus submitted a proposal that the troops in Iraq begin a return home. Petraeus also acknowledged that very little progress is being made in the country.

During the president’s speech, the word "terrorist" was used in his address to the nation more than 15 times, yet the word "victory" was not used a single time. One can only wonder if the president has finally come to terms with the failed operations that are occurring in Iraq.

Fernandez, a communications freshman, can be reached via [email protected]

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