If this were a boxing match, Keith Olbermann would have just won on a knock-out:
President Bush makes no secret of his distaste for looking backward, for assessing past results.
But in our third story on the Countdown tonight… too bad.
Any meaningful assessment of the president's next step in Iraq must consider his steps and missteps so far.
So, let's look at the record:
Before Mr. Bush was elected, he said he was no nation-builder; nation-building was wrong for America.
Now, he says it is vital for America.
He said he would never put U.S. troops under foreign control. Today, U.S. troops observe Iraqi restrictions.
He told us about WMDs. Mobile labs. Secret sources. Aluminum tubing. Yellow-cake.
He has told us the war is necessary…Because Saddam was a threat; Because of 9/11; Osama bin Laden; al Qaeda; Because of terrorism in general; To liberate Iraq; To spread freedom; To spread democracy; To keep the oil out of the hands of terrorist-controlled states; Because this was a guy who tried to kill his dad.
In pushing for and prosecuting this war, he passed on chances to get Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Muqtada al-Sadr, Osama bin Laden.
He sent in fewer troops than recommended. He disbanded the Iraqi Army, and "de-Baathified" the government. He short-changed Iraqi training.
He did not plan for widespread looting, nor the explosion of sectarian violence.
He sent in troops without life-saving equipment.
Gave jobs to foreign contractors, not the Iraqis.
Staffed U-S positions there, based on partisanship, not professionalism.
We learned that "America had prevailed", "Mission Accomplished", the resistance was in its "last throes".
He has said more troops were not necessary, and more troops are necessary, and that it's up to the generals, and removed some of the generals who said more troops would be necessary.
He told us of turning points: The fall of Baghdad, the death of Uday and Qusay, the capture of Saddam, a provisional government,the trial of Saddam, a charter, a constitution, an Iraqi government, ¤elections, purple fingers, a new government, the death of Saddam.
We would be greeted as liberators, with flowers.
As they stood up–we would stand down, we would stay the course, we were never 'stay the course',
The enemy was al Qaeda, was foreigners, terrorists, Baathists.
The war would pay for itself, it would cost 1-point-7 billion dollars, 100 billion, 400 billion, half a trillion dollars.
And after all of that, today it is his credibility versus that of generals, diplomats, allies, Republicans, Democrats, the Iraq Study Group, past presidents, voters last November, and the majority of the American people.