Monday, January 15, 2007

"New Way Forward" Plan Coordinated with Iraqi Officials?

Since Bush announced his "new way forward" plan for Iraq, the plan itself has been touted endlessly as something that was proposed by the Iraqis themselves. During the President's address to the nation, he referred to the plan as "the new Iraqi plan", in what can be seen as a concerted effort to give the appearance that the Iraqis are on board, and will live up to their role in the plan, which they have failed to do in the past.

During a press briefing, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said, "The President has outlined a strategy that relies on three main points. First, and most importantly, the Iraqis have devised their own strategy -- political, economic, and military -- and our efforts will support theirs.

General Peter Pace, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee said, "Sir, I believe the Iraqi leadership is saying they're 100 percent onboard."

And according to AP:

"Sen. Gordon Smith, the Republican from Oregon who recently criticized the handling of the war, said Bush told the senators that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki presented him with the plan for a U.S. troop increase several weeks ago when they met in Jordan. Bush indicated to the lawmakers he was willing to send more troops because the Iraqis were willing to meet certain criteria. "
But in today's "New York Times" a very different image of this new "plan" is presented.

"Just days after President Bush unveiled a new war plan calling for more than 20,000 additional American troops in Iraq, the heart of the effort — a major push to secure the capital — faces some of its fiercest resistance from the very people it depends on for success: Iraqi government officials."
The article continues on to discuss certain areas that are serving as points of contention between the American and Iraqi governments, with one American official saying, “We are implementing a strategy to embolden a government that is actually part of the problem. We are being played like a pawn.”

If this plan was presented by the Iraqis themselves, why is the United States facing a push-back from Iraqi government officials, officials that the White House has claimed are already on-board?

Why would the President of the United States go on national television to address the world with a plan that not only hasn't been finalized, but doesn't have the full support of the government, while claiming it did?