Bush's Newest Iraq Visit Already Drawing Media Swipes

The country awoke to surprising news that President George W. Bush had flown off to visit Iraq in a sort of farewell tour of the place that drove his presidency. With an early report, Reuters gave a few backhanded slaps at Bush that we are sure to see grow throughout the Old Media as the day progresses.

In its very first sentence, Reuters reminded us all, as if we didn’t already know, that the war in Iraq is the “unpopular Iraq war” that Bush has bequeathed to Barack Obama. Even as the war has rebounded in approval ratings among the American people over the last year, Reuters is still stuck on portraying the war as troubled.

President George W. Bush made an unannounced farewell visit to Baghdad on Sunday, just weeks before he leaves office and bequeaths the unpopular Iraq war to President-elect Barack Obama.

Later on, Reuters gives us this gem of a non-sequitur.

The brief visit was meant to showcase recent security gains in Iraq but was also a stark reminder of how heavily the war will weigh on the Republican president’s foreign policy legacy.

How this visit serves as a “stark reminder of how heavily the war will weigh on the Republican president’s foreign policy legacy” is unclear except in the minds of those that insist on coupling this visit with their own thoughts on Bush’s foreign policy legacy.

Next, Reuters unleashes what is not quite a truthful exposition of the facts.

It will now be left to Obama, a Democrat and early opponent of U.S. military involvement in Iraq, to sort out an exit strategy after he takes office on January 20.

This is not necessarily so. Obama could easily simply allow the already agreed upon withdrawal to occur and do nothing else. It is NOT necessarily “left to Obama” to figure out how to remove U.S. troops from Iraq because there is already an agreement between the U.S. and Iraq in place.

Now, Obama can certainly attempt to revisit this agreement, but it is NOT “left to Obama” to create one.

A little farther down in the article, I was struck on how this piece refutes its own earlier statement. Remember above where I note that the piece says that this visit “was also a stark reminder of how heavily the war will weigh on the Republican president’s foreign policy legacy”? Well, close to the end we get the following:

U.S. Gen. David Petraeus said last week that violence in Iraq in the past few weeks had fallen to its lowest level since mid-2003 and that security gains, while still at risk of reversal, were less fragile than before. Car bombings and suicide blasts are still common.

Wait a minute. If things are so incredibly better, how will this “weigh heavily” on Bush? It would seem rather the opposite if the facts are considered. In fact, since it seems such a success at this time, it should rather vindicate Bush, not “weigh heavily” on his legacy, wouldn’t you say?

Yes, this is just the earliest of many such Old Media attacks as Bush makes his last victory lap around Iraq today. Expect many more to come.

(Photo credit: The New York Times)

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