Bush to Lay Out Sovereignty Plan For Iraq

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    Bush to Lay Out Sovereignty Plan for Iraq

    Sunday, May 23, 2004
    WASHINGTON - Deflecting political discord over the war in Iraq, President Bush is seeking to reassure voters that hundreds of Americans have not died in vain, and tell the world that he has a blueprint to create a democratic nation.

    Five months before the election and just five weeks before the June 30 hand-off of political power in Iraq, Bush travels late Monday to the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., to give the first in a series of speeches about the future of Iraq.

    Worldwide attention is focused on the transfer of sovereignty next month, but the president is expected to lay out a timeline in Iraq that extends until elections are held early next year.

    With an eye on the future, Bush's prime-time speech will address two issues dominating U.S. efforts in Iraq: The creation of a new Iraqi interim government, whose leaders are to be announced within days, and ways to improve security in areas of Iraq still rife with violence.

    Bush reviewed drafts of his speech over the weekend while traveling in Texas and Connecticut to attend parties celebrating his daughters' college graduations.

    White House spokesmen said the president would present a "clear strategy" on moving forward on political, security, humanitarian and infrastructure fronts, but they provided few details.

    "He needs to demonstrate an appreciation for the hole we're in," said Ivo Daalder, a foreign policy analyst at the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution. "He shouldn't minimize the problems that we are confronting. He can't give the same speech that everything is going fine and `I'm committed to seeing it through.'"

    In his speech, Bush will talk about the new unelected, interim Iraqi government that will guide the country until elections can be held by Jan. 31, 2005. He has lauded the work of U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who is hand-picking an Iraqi prime minister, president and two vice presidents who will work with a cabinet of ministers in running day-to-day operations until elections can be held.

    Bush will also discuss work on a new U.N. Security Council resolution, expected to be offered hours before the speech, that among other things is likely to recognize the new interim government in Baghdad and an end to the occupation and address ongoing security challenges.

    An earlier U.N. resolution gave legal authority for a multinational force to stay in Iraq after June 30.

    It's a pivotal time in Iraq and the president's re-election campaign. Bush's approval ratings have sunk, according to some polls, to the lowest point of his presidency. Skepticism, mixed with fear of moving down an untraveled path in Iraq, is rising among Iraqis and Americans.

    As in most cities Bush visits these days, he was welcomed in New Haven, Conn., on Sunday by flag-waving residents as well as anti-war protesters, including one who carried a sign that read "Iraq Vietnam."

    The setbacks in Iraq keep stacking up:

    -U.S. troops continue to have deadly clashes with insurgents. Nearly 800 American servicemen and women have died since the beginning of military operations last year.

    -The president of the U.S.-backed Iraqi Governing Council was assassinated last week.

    -A suicide car bomber killed four people and wounded a deputy interior minister in charge of security Saturday in Baghdad.

    -U.S. lawmakers on Sunday vowed to investigate allegations that Ahmad Chalabi, a Shiite member of the governing council who was once a darling of Pentagon officials, gave Iran sensitive information about U.S. activities in Iraq.

    -Abuse of inmates at a U.S.-run prison in Iraq continues to provoke outrage in the Arab world.

    "He (Bush) needs to reassure people, or convince people again, not so much that the war was a good idea, but that he's got a plan to win the war," said Tom Donnelly, a national defense and security expert at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

    "The basic strategy of trying to convert it from a dictatorship to a democracy is fundamentally a sound one," Donnelly said, but the administration underestimated how difficult the task would be.

    That sentiment is being expressed by increasing number of Bush's fellow Republicans.

    Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., who has urged Bush to get the United Nations more deeply involved in Iraq, criticized the president on Sunday, saying he was running Iraq policy in a vacuum.

    "At a time that's as complicated and dangerous as any time in modern history today, a president of the United States needs to hear other opinions," Hagel told CNN's "Late Edition."

    "He must reach out. He must understand a bigger view, wider-lens view of the world. To essentially hold himself hostage to two or three key advisers and never reach beyond that is very dangerous for a president."
  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   Mkue
    Good move by President Bush to further explain his plan for Iraq and doing it over a period of 6 weeks is also a good idea to give all of us a better understanding of what is taking place and what will take place. I don't expect this will change any minds but at least many may feel more informed of what will happen on June 30th and beyond that.
  4. by   molecule
    looks to me as if the US is in a reactive position; look how Sadr travels around to give Friday sermons wherever he wants. look how Iran feels bold enough to warn the US. sure going to take more than pep talk about dreams to prevent catastrophe......
  5. by   maureeno
    maybe he should introduce us all to Mr. Brahimi
    the UN envoy charged with handpicking the Iraqi government
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from maureeno
    maybe he should introduce us all to Mr. Brahimi
    the UN envoy charged with handpicking the Iraqi government

    eauhhhh sharing a brain are we? I was thinking the same thing.
  7. by   maureeno
    looks like our own appointed governing council
    is unimpressed
    by either Bush's talk or the draft UN resolution:

    something about sovereignty meaning having control......

    meanwhile our strategy is changing
    watch how we will not disband militias
    but give them new Iraqi uniforms...
    Sadr's people too
  8. by   elkpark
    I notice in the speech last night that Shrub is still saying we're going to turn over "full sovereignty" to the (as yet undetermined) new Iraqi government on June 30, even though everyone else in the administration is saying, well, no, it's not going to be full sovereignty (in fact, it sounds like it's going to be precious little "sovereignty" ...)
  9. by   Energizer Bunny
    I missed the speech last night...is there a link somewhere?
  10. by   elkpark
    I don't know offhand, but I would guess that at least C-SPAN, CNN, and those sorts of places would have links (or, at least, reporting on the speech).
  11. by   donmurray
    I heard somewhere that CNN was the only network to cover it live!
  12. by   Energizer Bunny
    I really don't know Don. Dh was watching something else...mumbled something about not wanting to get sicker watching President Bush. I just let him be, grump that he was last night! LOL!
  13. by   maureeno
    today Tony Blair and Colin Powell
    contradicted each other

    Blair saying the Iraqi's will be able to veto US military action
    Powell saying no

    today France, Germany and Russia said they
    want more work done on the UN draft
    those pesky sovereignity details

    as the INC says:
    >>Full Iraqi sovereignty must be defined by the following:
    1. Control of the armed forces.
    2. Control of Iraq's finances.
    3. Control of the government administration without foreign advisers inside the ministries.
    4. Control over the size and location of foreign diplomatic missions in Iraq.

  14. by   pickledpepperRN
    I watched the President on Monday night giving the first of five weekly addresses to the world and the nation. It is understandable why the over-the-air broadcast networks left it to the cable channels to carry his message. It was aimed at the voters of the United States with the hope that he would be able to bolster his standing in the various polls.
    He could have and should have done this frequently, starting 14 month ago ...long before the security situation in Iraq became as fraught with violence and potential disaster as it now appears to be and long before the public, en masse, began to lose faith in his presidency. We need to have laid out for us a serious plan that doesn't cease with the hand-over scheduled for June 30th. He must find a way of bonding with the international community (that his administration so scorned at the outset of the war) and internationalize the attempt to have a free Iraq. There are answers if only Mr. Bush and Cheney would listen and one of the better ideas has been put forth by his erstwhile challenger John Kerry; he has proposed restructuring the military force in Iraq under NATO, with an American commander. There's a summit of the NATO nations in June and this is where he should show statesmanship and pursue the idea. Sadly, we have a chief executive who will never admit failings or shortcomings and failure is not in his vocabulary.

    He spoke on Monday at the War College of his five points. They were, in essence, just a listing of things that must be done about which we have heard over and over.
    In his address Mr. Bush said that the one way to secure Iraq is through self-governing democracy and he added that only representative self-government would deny the terrorists the pretext they need to kill. It is only through self-government that Iraq can become secure. Maybe.

    Maybe they don't want a democracy. Perhaps they don't yearn for what we take for granted and appreciate: liberty and pluralism.

    Mr. President, your question for the day; you said in your address that you know that the Iraqis are democrats at heart. Are you sure? Who are our enemies there? David Brooks in the New York Times posed basically the same question, putting it this way, "Are they the small minority of Baathists and Jihadists, or is there a little bit of Moktada al-Sadr in every Iraqi's breast?"

    Mr. President the longer we have control there, the worse things become. We've poured so many billions of dollars into this war and so many lives have been lost: approaching 800 of our own and countless Iraqis. Thousands of our men and women wounded and so many Iraqis young and old.

    Bluntly stated, the cost of this war is approaching something like $200 billion.A whole lot of that money is the result of failed leadership.

    On Capitol Hill, just a few days ago, Gen. Richard Myers, the Joint Chiefs Chairman, told senators that while there is no way this country can lose militarily in Iraq, there's also "no way to militarily win." Wow, and that from our top military man. We have the most advanced technological weaponry in the world, and vast superiority in every military aspect; from missiles to air-power and that doesn't guarantee a victory! Mr. President, work a little harder, please.