News & Politics

Bush: Iraq's Resurging Violence "a Very Positive Moment"

It's hard to see what Bush sees as positive.

Violence continues across southern Iraq today, as radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is threatening to end his crucial cease-fire by calling for the “downfall of the U.S.-backed government.”

In response, the administration has gone on a desperate PR blitz to label renewed violence in Iraq as “byproduct of the success of the surge.” “It's "what critics have wanted to see," said White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, calling it a struggle led by Iraqi security forces.

Today — as rockets rain down on the Green Zone and two American soldiers died — Bush cast the activity as a “very positive moment” in an interview with the Times of U.K.:
[Bush] backed the Iraqi Government's decision to “respond forcefully” to the spiralling violence by "criminal elements" and Shia extremists in Basra. "It was a very positive moment in the development of a sovereign nation that is willing to take on elements that believe they are beyond the law,"the President said.

It's hard to see what Bush sees as positive. The explosion that burst an oil pipeline in Basra today? Tens of thousands of Shiite protesters in Baghad? A kidnapped “civilian spokesman for the Baghdad security operation?”

In reality, the violence is undoing the very goals of Bush’s surge. Iraqi forces aren’t trying to restore “the law,” as Bush thinks, but are trying to do the opposite — suppress its political enemies before the October elections, historian Reidar Vissar noted. Most ironically, if U.S.-backed efforts “succeed,” Iran's hand in Iraq will be strengthened. IPS’ Gareth Porter explains:
Satyam Khanna is a Research Associate for The Progress Report and at the Center for American Progress.
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