News Release

Bush and Iraq: * Air War * Drawdown of Troops?

The New York Times is reporting in its front-page lead story today that President Bush’s statements yesterday — which included a reference to the possibility of withdrawing some troops from Iraq — were “embracing and preempting this month’s crucial Congressional hearings on his Iraq strategy.”

CONN HALLINAN
Hallinan wrote the recent article “Death at a Distance: The U.S. Air War,” which states that “an enormous intensification of U.S. bombardments” in Iraq and Afghanistan entails an “increasing number of civilian casualties … and the growing role of pilot-less killers in the conflict.”

Hallinan added: “According to Associated Press, there has been a five-fold increase in the number of bombs dropped on Iraq during the first six months of 2007 over the same period in 2006. More than 30 tons of those have been cluster weapons, which take an especially heavy toll on civilians.”
More Information

NORMAN SOLOMON
Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He said today: “By again holding out a scenario of U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq, President Bush is making like Lucy with a football — treating the public like Charlie Brown. For years, one way or another, via dubious leaks from unnamed sources or hedged statements from officials, the Bush administration has tried to halt the erosion of public support for the war by implying that the White House might soon draw down American troop levels in Iraq.

“Three years ago — with discontent over the war threatening to undermine President Bush’s prospects for a second term — a key White House conduit for planted stories, Robert Novak, floated a rosy scenario in his nationally syndicated column that appeared on Sept. 20, 2004. Novak wrote: ‘Inside the Bush administration policy-making apparatus, there is strong feeling that U.S. troops must leave Iraq next year. This determination is not predicated on success in implanting Iraqi democracy and internal stability. Rather, the officials are saying: Ready or not, here we go.’

“Novak’s column went on to tell readers: ‘Well-placed sources in the administration are confident Bush’s decision will be to get out.’ Those sources were unnamed. Novak followed up a month before the November 2004 election with a piece that recycled the gist of his Sept. 20 column and chortled: ‘Nobody from the administration has officially rejected my column.’

“Next year, Bush might find it politically useful to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Iraq. But there is nothing to stop him from later adjusting troop levels upward, as he has done before. And we should consider the fact that President Nixon, beginning in mid-1969, oversaw steep reductions of U.S. troop levels in Vietnam over a period of three years while actually increasing the tonnage of American bombs being dropped on that country — a process already well underway in Iraq.”

The documentary film “War Made Easy,” based on Solomon’s book of the same name, has begun theatrical release.

Solomon’s next book, Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State, will be published in early fall.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167.