This WaPo story doesn't pull any punches:
He never seriously considered beginning to withdraw U.S. forces, as urged by newly elected Democratic congressional leaders and the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. And he had grown skeptical of his own military commanders, who were telling him no more troops were needed.And in case you thought the al-Maliki government was NOT a US puppet, here's how it works:
So Bush relied on his own judgment that the best answer was to try once again to snuff out the sectarian violence in Baghdad, even at the risk of putting U.S. soldiers into a crossfire between Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias. When his generals resisted sending more troops, he seemed irritated. When they finally agreed to go along with the plan, he doubled the number of troops they requested.
It was a signature moment for a president who seems uninfluenced by the electorate on Iraq and headed for a showdown with the new Democratic Congress. Presented with an opportunity to pull back, Bush instead chose to extend and, in some ways, deepen his commitment, gambling that more time and a new plan will finally bring success to the troubled U.S. military mission.
"The guy who is most committed to winning and finding a way to win is the president. He always has been; he's the only reason we are still in this fight," said Frederick W. Kagan, a military historian at the American Enterprise Institute whose advice to send more troops has been closely monitored by senior administration policymakers.
Firing up a PowerPoint presentation, Maliki and his national security adviser proposed that U.S. troops withdraw to the outskirts of Baghdad and let Iraqis take over security in the strife-torn capital. Maliki said he did not want any more U.S. troops at all, just more authority.WaPo says Bush "concluded that the Iraqis were not up to the task and that Baghdad would collapse into chaos". But the truth is that Bush does not trust the Iraqis, any of them, and the US government it never going to give them enough weaponry to survive without US military assistance. If they did, there would be no more excuses for staying in the country.
The president listened intently to the unexpected proposal at their Nov. 30 meeting, according to accounts from several administration officials. Bush seemed impressed that Maliki had taken the initiative, but it did not take him long to reject the idea.
By the time Bush returned to Washington, the plan had already been picked through by his military commanders. At a meeting in the White House's Roosevelt Room, the president flatly told his advisers that the Maliki plan was not going to work.