QUESTION: A couple of weeks ago, you stood in the Rose Garden with Generals Abizaid and Casey and you cited the accomplishments regarding standing up of Iraqi troops there and said that there were 12 battalions that were working on Fallujah in the western part, 20 in Baghdad, 100 across the nation.
QUESTION: And that afternoon, Abizaid and Casey went up to Capitol Hill and said, "Well, there's one battle-ready battalion," which led some Republican senators to say, "Well, the situation is getting worse."
So, the questions is, sir: It appears that between what you said and what they said, something's not adding up here.
BUSH: Well, what is happening in Iraq is the following: More and more Iraqi are able to take the fight to the enemy. BUSH: And that's important to achieve our goal. And the goal is for a stable, democratic Iraq that is an ally in the war on terror.
Right now, there are over 80 army battalions fighting alongside coalition troops. When I say army battalions, Iraqi army battalions. There are over 30 Iraqi battalions in the lead. And that is substantial progress from the way the world was a year ago.
I don't want to be relentlessly negative here; Bush has had a bad few weeks. So let me say that I'm encouraged that they've talked him down from 100 to 80. However, even 80 seems to be, oh, around 79 battallions too high. I could understand being off by, say, 30, or even 50, but 79? That's kind of a lot. Maybe whoever it is that's in charge of getting important information to his desk could get on that.
And while she's at it, maybe she could point out that "more and more Iraqi are taking it to the enemy" could be read in two ways, and the other way is exactly what we're worried about.