Jan. 10th, 2007
Bush Takes Blame for Mistakes in Iraq - washingtonpost.com
Usually loath to admit error, Bush said it also was a mistake to have allowed American forces to be restricted by the Iraqi government, which tried to prevent U.S. military operations against fighters controlled by the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, a powerful political ally of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The president said al-Maliki had assured him that "political or sectarian interference will not be tolerated."
After nearly four years of bloody combat, the speech was perhaps Bush's last credible chance to try to present a winning strategy in Iraq and persuade Americans to change their minds about the unpopular war, which has cost the lives of more than 3,000 members of the U.S. military as well as more than $400 billion.
Bush's approach amounts to a huge gamble on al-Maliki's willingness _ and ability _ to deliver on promises he has consistently failed to keep: to disband Shiite militias, pursue national reconciliation and make good on commitments for Iraqi forces to handle security operations in Baghdad.