The New York Times has the story:
President Bush, appearing confident about sustaining support for his Iraq strategy, met at the Pentagon on Friday with the uniformed leaders of the nation’s armed services and then pointedly accused the war’s opponents of politicizing the debate over what to do next.Read the rest. Democrats, like Senator Richard Durbin, spout the most pessimistic reports on the war's progress to make their case for a precipitious withdrawal:
“The stakes in Iraq are too high and the consequences too grave for our security here at home to allow politics to harm the mission of our men and women in uniform,” Mr. Bush said in a statement after his meeting with the chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines in a briefing room known as the Tank.
The meeting, which lasted an hour and a half, was among the president’s last Iraq strategy sessions before he leaves for Australia to meet with leaders of Asian and Pacific nations. It came on the eve of a string of reports and hearings that, starting next week, could determine the course of the remaining 16 months of Mr. Bush’s presidency.
Beginning on Tuesday, when Congress returns from its August recess, lawmakers are prepared to debate what to do in Iraq in daily hearings that will culminate on Sept. 10 and Sept. 11 with appearances by the ambassador to Iraq, Ryan C. Crocker, and the military commander there, Gen. David H. Petraeus.
Congress has mandated a progress report from the White House before Sept. 15, and Mr. Bush chided lawmakers for calling for a change in policy before hearing the views of the two men who are, as administration officials repeatedly point out, “on the ground in Iraq.”
“Congress asked for this assessment,” Mr. Bush said in the statement, “and members of Congress should withhold judgment until they have heard it.”
That has not stopped Mr. Bush from making an impassioned defense of the increase in American troops that he ordered in January, making the judgment that the new strategy was working and deserved a chance to continue doing so. In recent speeches, Mr. Bush has highlighted what he and others have called an improvement in security in Iraq and signs of political compromise that have so far been absent among Iraq’s political leaders.
“What we’re hearing is a pretty consistent message of failure on the political front in Iraq,” said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, a Democrat, who visited Iraq in August.The Times story continues with additional points about expected troop reductions. There's no discussion of the significantly upbeat assessments coming from various sources over the last couple of months.
My post citing Jeff Jacoby's analysis of antiwar denialism is appropriate here. The country's antiwar forces have become increasingly desperate in their efforts to tar the war as a disaster. Many mistakes were made in the deployment, especially early on, with the lack of post-invasion security, and the terrible toll of casualities over the years has worn down public opinion.
But under General Petraeus the U.S. is making real progress. In response, the left has shifted its approach, focusing less on military strategy to hammer home the difficulties of Iraqi political progress. That's not to mention all the denials of Iranian influence in the county and the dismissal of likely instability in the entire Middle East after a U.S. defeat.
So, thankfully, Bush is putting up a good fight in combatting the nihilist, antiwar crowd.
(By the way, be sure to check PrivatePigg's post at Liberty Pundit, which skewers Glenn Greenwald's rabid anti-Bush fantasies.)