The buck stops ... over there

The White House suggests that Petraeus, not Bush, should be held accountable for what happens in Iraq.

Published September 18, 2007 8:28PM (EDT)

In an appearance with "military support organizations" today, George W. Bush referred to his new plan for Iraq as "recommendations" of Gen. David Petraeus that he has "embraced."

A little later in the day, a reporter asked White House press secretary Dana Perino if, by "invoking the name of Gen. Petraeus when talking about what he wants Congress to do," the president wasn't "making the general a political figure."

"No, no," Perino said. "I reject the verb. No. No 'invoked' his name. He is the general. He is the general in charge of 160,000 troops in the region. He is the general who is working with the Iraqi security forces in order to help bring them along. He is the one that Congress confirmed 81-0. He is the one that Congress asked to come and testify in front of the Hill last week with ambassador Crocker. And he is the general.

"And throughout our history, generals are asked to be accountable to the people. We are the ones who are supportive -- supporting our troops as taxpayers. We are supporting them both in resources and also, you saw the military service organizations today, who pour out with their heart and soul in order to help families who are here and do things just as small as providing a calling card so that troops can call home. So I reject the notion that he would be invoking anyone's name. The general is the general. And that's who he is talking about."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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