MISSION CREEP…Is it just me, or did Bush just ratchet back up our ambitions for Iraq?

According to the Associated Press, “The United States will not withdraw its forces from Iraq before its mission of building a stable democracy is complete, President Bush said Tuesday.”

It seemed like in recent months, administration officials had bowed to reality and dropped the democracy talk, saying instead that we’ll stay until Iraq has a stable government, capable of defending itself and not acting as a haven for terrorists (goals that could have been achieved, in other words, by not invading in the first place, but whatever.) But now we’re again being told that the mission is to create a “stable democracy” and that Bush is not going to “pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete.”

Since Iraqi democracy pretty clearly isn’t coming any time soon, we’re essentially being told that we’ll be in Iraq at least until January 2009. Someone better tell James Baker nevermind.

UPDATE: Scratch that. I just checked the transcript of the speech. Bush never said anything about democracy in Iraq. It’s just an incredibly sloppy mistake by the AP. I guess this counts as good news.

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