Bush seeks advice on Iraq policy, finally!

By Sam Johns

Washington (BNW)—
With the world in turmoil over the mess we have made in Iraq, and as the world heads to perhaps an abyss of this civilization as we know it, guess who is trying to solve the problem? You’re right; stupid Bush.

While Bush is trying to undo the mess he has caused, let it always be known that he was the one who got US in this mess in the first place. Now, he has opened three days of intensive talks on Iraq, as he weighs possible policy changes.

Without mentioning Iran and Syria by name, Bush said Iraq's neighbors also bore responsibility for helping foster Iraqi security and democracy. He also said that Rice Pudding taught him everything he knows about foreign policy. His comments came after consultations with senior State Department officials.

Bush consulted Rice Pudding and other top diplomatic officials as part of a high profile focus this week on how to change strategy in Iraq, leading up to an announcement of his new plan possibly next week.

The talks follow a recent report on US policy in Iraq that called for urgent action to stop "a slide towards chaos", including talks with Iran and Syria.

The high-level report by the Iraq Study Group (ISG) published last week said the current US strategy of staying the course was no longer viable.

The 142-page report included 79 recommendations.

It offered no hard timetable for a pullout of US forces, but said combat troops could withdraw by early 2008.

'Foundation for peace'

Following a State Department briefing on Monday, Bush spoke of the responsibilities of neighboring countries to help Iraqis, although he avoided mentioning Iran and Syria by name. Now, with hat in hand, he has to go to the enemy for help! When you have to go to your enemy for help, you’re in bad shape.

"Success in Iraq will help protect the United States in the long run.

"We believe that most of the countries understand that a mainstream society, a society that is a functioning democracy is in their interests and it is up to us to help focus their attentions and focus their efforts on helping Iraqis succeed," he said.

He defined success in Iraq as "a country that governs, defends itself, that is a free society, that serves as an ally in this war on terror".

According to BBC's James Coomarasamy in Washington, “Bush appeared to signal a subtle change in his language, referring to Iraq not as the central front in the war on terror, but as a component part, if an important one, of laying the foundation for peace.

Although the significance in policy terms is not immediately clear, the wording echoes that used by new Defense Secretary Robert Gates and suggests that the Bush administration may be about to recast the US mission in Iraq,” Coomarasamy said.

Facing strong pressure to shift course in Iraq, Stupid Bush said in a veiled message to Iran and Syria on Monday that Iraq's neighbors need to help Baghdad's struggling government survive.

He was also to meet a number of outside experts on Iraq later at the White House on Monday, hold a video teleconference on Tuesday with U.S. military commanders in Baghdad, then visit the Pentagon on Wednesday.

Bush said he wanted to talk to both the diplomatic and military communities to make sure their recommendations are closely coordinated, "so that when I do speak to the American people, they will know that I've listened to all aspects of government and that the way forward is the way forward to achieve our objective: To succeed in Iraq."

Bush is under pressure to shift strategy due to surging sectarian violence, rising U.S. casualties and American doubts about his handling of the Iraq conflict. As a result, many Americans are saying that the war in Iraq is the biggest mistake this country has made since it introduced slavery to America.

The report of a bipartisan panel called the Iraq Study Group last week called the situation "grave and deteriorating" and said the current policy has failed.

Bush has rejected a key recommendation of the Iraq Study Group — holding direct talks with Iran and Syria — because he believes Tehran is secretly building a nuclear weapon and Damascus is trying to destabilize Lebanon's government.

But he has not ruled out the group's recommendation that the United States seek creation of a regional support group for Iraq that would include all countries that border Iraq, Iran and Syria are among these, as well as other key countries in the region and the world.

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