Apparently the buck does stop as the President’s desk, but does that really mean anything anymore? What does “taking responsibility” mean if Bush thinks we still should have gone in there regardless?

From CNN:

“It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong,” Bush said during his fourth and final speech before Thursday’s vote for Iraq’s parliament. “As president I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq. And I’m also responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities. And we’re doing just that.”

“My decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right decision,” the president said. “Saddam was a threat and the American people, and the world is better off because he is no longer in power.”

“We are living through a watershed moment in the story of freedom,” Bush said. “Iraqis will go to the polls to choose a government that will be the only constitutional democracy in the Arab world. Yet we need to remember that these elections are also a vital part of a broader strategy in protecting the American people against the threat of terrorism.”

And while I’ve hammered the Dems lately on their rhetoric, their response is appropriate and on-point.

First Murtha:

Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania — a usually hawkish Democrat who has called for a quick withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq — criticized Bush’s policy again after the address.

“We’ve got nation building by the U.S. military, and that’s not a mission for the U.S. military,” Murtha said. “I’ve said this over and over again: They’re not good at nation building. You’ve given them a mission which they cannot carry out. They do they best they can, but they can’t do it.”

And then others:

Before the speech, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said 41 Democratic senators had sent a letter to Bush “to show that we need to get things right in Iraq after these elections.”

“The president has had a number of speeches — three in number — and he has still not focused on what needs to be done in convincing the American people and showing the American people what his plan is in Iraq,” Reid said.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, said the letter urges the Bush administration “to tell the leaders of all groups and political parties in Iraq that they need to make the compromises necessary to achieve the broad-based and sustainable political settlement that is necessary for defeating the insurgency.”

“The president still has not stated how long his administration believes the (war) will take and how much it will cost in terms of funding and in terms of the commitment of American military and civilian personnel,” Reed said.

However, that last point is pretty pointless. How can you set a timetable on “to achieve the broad-based and sustainable political settlement that is necessary for defeating the insurgency” when its success isn’t determined by time?

Politics Bush Takes Responsibility For Bad Intelligence