Over the past four years President Bush has failed to effectively communicate to the public the importance of succeeding in Iraq, and now some Republican senators are going wobbly in the face of low poll numbers. They appear prepared to deny our military even the few months they were told would be given before the September report on the progress of the counteroffensive. The President needs to use everything at his disposal to make the case to the American people that failure in Iraq is not an option. He needs to do it immediately and in a bold fashion.
President Bush held a press conference Thursday morning to discuss the state of operations in Iraq. It was a start, but it is going to take a lot more than talking to reporters in a morning presser to get the message through to the American public. There are too many misconceptions that have been allowed to exist for too many months. It will take a bold and focused effort to be sure the public gets all the information they need to make an informed opinion about the correct course of action to pursue in Iraq.
There are a few points the President needs to hammer over and over again. First he needs to educate the public about the true nature of the “Surge” -- especially that the increase of troop levels in Iraq is only part of the larger counter-offensive effort. In a RedState editorial it was explained that “the increase in troop levels, requested by General Petraeus, was one of many components …or “strategic shifts”… necessary to implement the sweeping new strategy, which radically altered our country’s course in Iraq and sought to solve the problems and shore up the weaknesses which four years of fighting had created and exposed.” Too many Americans believe (because they have been misled to believe) that the surge is simply a matter of throwing more troops into a losing effort to make the same mistakes over and over again, rather than a completely new strategy that is already yielding some progress.
The second thing the President has to do is get the stories of progress through to the public. The Democrats and the media have told the public repeatedly that the war in Iraq is lost -- a failure and a complete disaster. Slowly some reports of progress in Iraq are making it into major media outlets, but they are still not being reported as prominently as they should be. Not only do most Americans not know about the success stories taking place in Anbar province, once considered a lost cause, but many are not aware that any progress is being made anywhere in Iraq.