“Bush called Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Monday to reassure him that it was not true that the US planned to dump him if he has not produced better results in two months.
Bush hasn’t dumped Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who has not produced better results for three years, so al-Maliki need not have worried.”
From Juan Cole’s Informed Comment. Here’s the article that Juan cites:
Bush assures jittery Al-Maliki that U.S. stands behind him
The White House is taking a wait-and-see attitude to an independent commission study that reportedly will urge changes in Iraqi policy.
Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times
Last update: October 16, 2006 – 11:42 PM
WASHINGTON – President Bush on Monday reassured Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that he would not set a timetable for withdrawal of troops and would continue to support the prime minister, despite recent reports that military generals and some Republican lawmakers are dissatisfied with the Iraqi government’s performance.
At the same time, the White House suggested Monday that it would not necessarily accept the recommendations of an independent commission reviewing Iraq policy. “We’re not going to outsource the business of handling the war in Iraq,” said Tony Snow, the president’s press secretary.
Read it here.
And here’s Chris Floyd’s take on this business (ouch!):
Why Bush Smiles: Victory is at Hand in Iraq
Written by Chris Floyd
Tuesday, 17 October 2006
Despite George W. Bush’s ostentatious bucking up of the Iraqi government yesterday, it is very likely that there will indeed be an American-engineered coup ousting Maliki and installing some sort of strongman-led “national unity government” in Baghdad soon, probably before the end of the year.
(Indeed, the very showiness of Bush’s pledge of support – in a phone call supposedly initiated by Bush, then announced to the media – is a good indication of the decapitation to come. As JFK once told Gore Vidal: “When a politician says to you, ‘Jack, if there’s anything I can do for you, just let me know,’ that means you’re dead.” And Maliki – installed in a Bush-backed internal party coup that toppled the previous prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who was himself once a recipient of similar pledges of staunch White House support – is a dead man walking.)
The chief reason why Maliki and his government will be ousted is not the hell-storm of death and violence that is now devouring the country. The fact that every new day sees a hundred or more mutilated bodies dumped on the nation’s streets, and pitched battles between sectarian militias, and multiple deaths of American troops, and mass flights of anguished Iraqi civilians running in fear for their lives is not a matter of any urgent concern to Bush and his warmakers. Indeed, there is much evidence that one of the prime instigators of the wanton killing is a group created and long nurtured by the Bush Administration itself: the Facilities Protection Service, an army of uniformed freebooters nearly 150,000 strong. (I’ll be writing more on this later.) Of course, the violence is a political headache for the Bushists, because it generates bad press; but they don’t care about it – it has no intrinsic meaning or emotional impact on those who are already responsible for the deaths of more than half a million Iraqis and more than 2,700 Americans.