President Bush wholeheartedly embraced the James Baker III-led Iraq Study Group’s recommendations that US troops should be withdrawn from Iraq over the next year when speaking to the press during his visit to Jordan:
“So we’ll be in Iraq until the job is complete, at the request of a sovereign government elected by the people…we’re going to stay in Iraq to get the job done, so long as the government wants us there. so there’s one thing I'm not going to do: I’m not going to pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete.”
Bush’s latest comments appear to be consistent with his oft-stated position of “staying the course” and his recent comment during his Vietnam trip when he said “if we quit, we lose.” Thus many pundits tell us that Bush simply will not withdraw the troops from Iraq.
What these pundits are forgetting of course is that whatever Bush says and does in public is the exact opposite of what he says and does in private. Here’s a tiny sample:
“I will create 12 million new jobs” (1999 campaign promise).
“[If elected], Governor Bush will work to...establish mandatory reduction targets for emissions of four main pollutants: sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury and carbon dioxide.” (Bush Environmental Plan, 9/29/00)
"What I think the president ought to do [when gas prices spike] is he ought to get on the phone with the OPEC cartel and say we expect you to open your spigots.” (1/26/00)
"We're going to keep the promise of Social Security and keep the government from raiding the Social Security surplus." (3/3/01)
“War is the last resort”
"We will be changing the regime of Iraq, for the good of the Iraqi people." (3/6/03)
"We do not anticipate requesting supplemental funding for '04" (via White House Budget Director Joshua Bolton, 2/2/04)
“Secretary Rumsfeld is doing a fantastic job” (just before ‘06 mid-term elections).
So when Bush says in public that he won’t withdraw the troops, his track record says that he will do just that.
Though I do recall him saying in 2000 that he didn’t think the US should be “involved in nation-building” and that’s one public statement he has certainly stuck with.