After President Bush announced the planned withdrawal of some troops from Iraq in his speech on Thursday, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann described the Bush administration as the "discount department store of presidencies," comparing it to a retailer that first increases prices by one-third and then dramatically advertises a 25% off sale.
Blasting Bush's "dissembling, tortured logic, sophistry, and outright dishonesty," Olbermann proposed to "fact-check Mr. Bush -- as if the word 'fact' and the name 'Bush' belong anywhere near each other."
Olbermann began by examining Bush's claim that "by July 31, the number of US combat brigades in Iraq will be down by 25% from last year." Olbermann acknowledged that the number of brigades will fall from 20 back to 15 -- the same as it was prior to the surge -- but pointed out that the actual number of troops will remain higher: 140,000 next fall, compared with 132,000 in January 2007.
"The point of sending those five brigades," Olbermann pointed out, "was not, we were told, to reduce violence enough that they could leave, but enough that other brigades could leave, a decision General Petraeus has now said cannot be made any earlier than September."
Olbermann called Bush's claim to be following Petraeus's recommendation to postpone any decision until September "a lie," pointing out that Bush himself had admitted in an interview recorded before the speech, "My answer is no. I'm not going to say that. I'm going to say that I agree with David."
Having completed his scrutiny of Bush's dissembling on troop drawdowns, Olbermann turned to an extraordinary "milestone ... as Mr. Bush, in just 15 minutes, escalated yet again his own definition of the victory that must by won by US troops."
At 11:28, Bush referred to "our declared goal, a free Iraq that can protect it's people, support itself economically, and take charge of its own political affairs." But at 11:41, he told US soldiers, "The day will come when Iraq's a stable democracy that helps fight our common enemies and promote our common interests in the Middle East, and when that day arrives, you'll come home with pride in your success."
"'Our common enemies," Olbermann repeated sarcastically, "defined just minutes before as al Qaeda and Iran. Iran, the fellow Shi'ites next door, now Iraq's ally, thanks to Mr. Bush's war, which ended decades of Iraq and Iran keeping each other in check."
Olbermann finished by focusing on Bush's cynical attitude towards the troops, noting that his promise to reduce deployments in Iraq from 15 to 12 months would not affect one single soldier currently serving there, but only those sent after next August 1.
Olbermann singled out Bush's claim that the military remains "resilient enough to fight and win this war on terror. ... Our troops want to win. ... I believe the surest way to depress morale and weaken the force would be to lose in Iraq."
"Perhaps Mr. Bush's worst fantasy," Olbermann concluded, "that nothing could depress troop morale more than failing to meet his goals in Iraq. It is rendered obscenely transparent by the worst possible metric of morale. ... US troops are committing suicide at record levels."
This video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast April 10, 2008.