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Bill Orton
(D-Long Beach)

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More Happy Talk from the President

by Bill Orton

Thursday, July 12, 2007 -- It's no surprise that the President exercised his right to personally announce results of an interim report to Congress on Iraq, a report which states that leaders there made progress on only eight of the 18 benchmarks laid out by congress.

This is a report demanded not by the superliberals, but by the GOP's leading voice on defense matters, Senator John Warner, of Virginia.

It's no surprise, then, that the President would also seize on what most consider to be a grim report as another opportunity to engage in happy talk about patience with the surge and David Patreaus.

What the report and the President's spin really seems to show is just how deep is the gulf now separating George W. Bush from the rest of America, including a growing number of congressional Republicans, like Senator Warner.

It doesn't help the President that he suffers from a self-inflicted credibility gap following the deceptions used to get us into Iraq and his years spent in a 'state of denial' over how the fight there is going.

For many Americans, nothing uttered by this President or his aides can be believed, a simple fact borne out by the absolute collapse in the public's support for our war policy.

Most people now can see that Americans are being killed every day in Iraq and yet the President is clinging to a failed strategy that says this is primarily a military matter.

Not even a grim report on benchmarks laid out by John Warner and the congress seems to matter to the President and his shrinking base of allies, who now are defensively asking what would happen if we left Iraq. The country would fall apart. Iraqi would be subsumed by violence. All sides would be caught in an internal struggle for power. But those things are happening already and our forces seem powerless to stop it.

It's time we let Iraqis run their own nation and write their own history. The bloodletting underway since 2003 is not something we can stop nor is happy talk and denial enough to convince the majority of the public and congress that we must forever place young Americans in harms way.

It's time to get out of Iraq, Mr. President.

Bill Orton is a writer and historian living in Long Beach, California.