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Bush Anniversary Speech Admits Iraq Failures: As reported by Scott Ott

(2006-03-18) — President George Bush will mark the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by admitting he made mistakes, and asking Americans and Iraqis for forgiveness, according to a draft of the speech, leaked to journalists today.

On Monday the president will tell a nonpartisan group in Cleveland that despite the best efforts of American troops to capture Iraq’s oil production for U.S. consumption, the price of gasoline at the pump remains high.

“Frankly, I misunderstimated the difficulty of the war for oil,” the president will say. “I thought it would be as easy for us as it was for European leaders to pocket kickbacks from Saddam under the United Nations Oil-for-Food program.”

According to the draft manuscript, the least popular president of the modern era will also admit he shouldn’t have taken such aggressive action against Mr. Hussein until he could absolutely prove the Iraqi dictator still had stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons.

“I’m sure I’d have a lot more support for the war if I could have pointed to a bigger body count beyond the mere 5,000 civilian Kurds that Saddam gassed,” Mr. Bush will reportedly say. “Clearly, mistakes were made.”

The president will also express regret that the U.S.-led war has forever altered the politics of Iraq.

“My sensitivity to Iraqi culture is not what it might have been,” the president is slated to confess. “My actions have produced a bewildering array of candidates and choices at the polls, instead of the traditional one candidate, ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ ballot. The Iraqis will never again enjoy that kind of simple life, and that’s my fault.”

As part of a massive PR push to rescue his presidential legacy, Mr. Bush will also apologize that the Iraq war has distracted his administration from protecting the homeland against al-Qaeda mastermind Usama bin Laden, who remains at large.

“While I was focused on Iraq,” Mr. Bush will confess, “Bin Laden could have easily taken down a dozen more skyscrapers, set off a nuculer (sic) weapon in the port at Philadelphia and dirty-bombed Washington D.C.. I guess it’s just dumb luck that those things never happened while I looked the other way. But that doesn’t excuse my incompetence. To the Americans who might have died in those attacks, and to their potential surviving loved ones: I’m truly sorry.”

Mr. Bush will also agree with critics who contend he has failed to “win the peace” and has pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war.

“I’m afraid the U.S. occupation of Iraq has driven otherwise peaceful religious people to blow up innocent civilians as the only way to protest our oppressive presence,” the president will note. “If it weren’t for me, the Sunnis and Shiites would all join hands with Kurds and Baathists and they’d sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual — free at last, free at last, Allahu Akhbar, we’re free at last.”

The president will acknowledge that his biggest mistake was misinterpreting the word ‘resolution’ in 12 years of United Nations resolutions about Mr. Hussein’s failure to comply with the terms of cease-fire from the first Gulf War.

“I thought the root of that word was ‘resolve’, which means to reach a firm decision, to deal with successfully,” Mr. Bush will say. “My limited language skills led me astray. As most global leaders know, ‘resolution’ comes from the Latin word ’solvere’ which means to loosen or release, as in ‘dissolve’. Again, mea culpa. That’s Latin for ‘my [fault]’.” ” — Scott Ott