So George Bush makes a secret stop in Iraq on his way to a summit in Australia. And, according to breathless news accounts, deliberately shuns Baghdad to send a message to the Iraqi leadership. Oh, and he lands at a remote base in Anbar province, so Al-Maliki, a Shiite, has to drive into dreaded Sunni territory. It certainly sounds like a page from the White House playbook we know so well.
What I found most laughable in the initial account is that the president asked a commander about morale. The answer--wait for it: "It's very high, sir." So you're an American military man being addressed by the president and he wants to know if his war is going well. What else are you going to say if you want to keep your job?
The supposition about this latest photo op is that the commander-in-chief wanted to see the situation for himself. Like that can ever happen unfiltered. Here's a guy surrounded by people who know he famously doesn't like to be challenged asking for their opinion. In that frame of reference, it's not an honest question in search of an honest answer. Mr. Bush is, after all, on a divine mission, being guided by the Almighty. And his God isn't as pissed as the American people.
His main man in Iraq, David Petraeus, is to give his long-awaited assessment next week in Washington. But the report is already a moot point. Everyone who knows George Bush knows he is sticking to his guns about Iraq and will keep our troops there as long as he's president. He is determined, in the face of a grim reality on the ground and intense opposition at home, to pursue victory, in whichever form works for him at the moment.
And now, with our military stretched beyond sustainable limits, he appears to be ready to open a third front, this time with Iran. More bombings, more outrage, more death and more of that winning wartalk from the grinning bastard who thinks he's on a mission from God. Heaven help us, and soon.