Bush pulls the Petraeus card, again

At a press conference, the president says we should wait to judge the surge until Gen. Petraeus' September report. But what will be in that report?

Published May 24, 2007 3:14PM (EDT)

Ever since the appointment of Gen. David Petraeus as commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, the administration -- and the conservatives who support the administration -- have leaned on Petraeus, a well-respected general, to justify the surge and continuation of the war.

In his Rose Garden press conference today, President Bush again implored the press and public to rely on Petraeus for analysis of all things Iraq, this time to beg for more time before the surge is judged.

"You're asking me how much longer; we have yet to even get all our troops in place," Bush said. "General David Petraeus laid out a plan for the Congress. He talked about a strategy all aimed at helping this Iraqi government secure its capital so that they can do some of the political work necessary, the hard work necessary to reconcile. And as I explained in my opening remarks, all the troops won't be there til mid-June ... And so General Petraeus has said, 'Why don't you give us till September and let me report back' -- to not only me but to the United States Congress -- 'about progress?'"

But Petraeus himself has said he doesn't expect much in the way of a solid judgment to come out of his September report.

"I don't think we'll have anything definitive in September," Petraeus said in an interview with IraqSlogger's Jane Arraf earlier this month.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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