Return on success

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This article is part of SourceWatch and Congresspedia coverage of the
Bush administration's war in Iraq
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In his eighth major speech to the nation regarding progress of the war in Iraq, on September 13, 2007, President George W. Bush introduced his most recent strategy for winning by coining the new slogan Return On Success.[1]

According to the White House Fact Sheet: "'Return On Success' Guiding Principle For Troop Levels In Iraq",[2] Bush states that the "principle guiding his decisions on troop levels in Iraq is 'return on success' – the more successful we are, the more American troops can return home."

President Bush endorsed the plan of Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, to "stay 9-10 years in Iraq, prolonging the escalation until next summer."[3] He also adopted the drawdown proposal put forth by Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), with a "total of 5,700 of the 21,500 combat troops added" in 2007 to "return by Christmas."[4][5][6]

Following a mid-day media briefing with President Bush, NBC's Tim Russert "added further details about Bush's 'long-term commitment' to Iraq:[3]

"'At the end of 2008, by the best calculations, there will be anywhere from ninety to 110,000 troops still in Iraq. And if in fact there’s going to be this long term strategic relationship, that number will necessarily have to go down, but it indicates that we are in Iraq for the long, long haul."

"So what would Americans have to commit to Bush’s long-term plan?" Satyam Khanna of Think Progress wrote.[3] On September 13, 2007, the Center for American Progress "offered a 'conservative projection,' suggesting that 'we could well suffer between 8,220 and 11,167 additional deaths' and potentially 59-80,000 wounded.

"Furthermore, despite three different scenarios on troop levels (70,000, 100,000, and 130,000), each adds up to well over $1 trillion in tax dollars spent on the war by FY2017," Khanna wrote.[3]

Bush's speech was also devoid of any reference to "victory" in Iraq, which was abandoned in favor of "success". What constitutes "success" was not clearly defined.[7]

Articles and resources

Also see


  1. "News Release: "Address by the President to the Nation on the Way Forward in Iraq" delivered September 13, 2007, from the Oval Office; Office of the White House Press Secretary, September 13, 2007.
  2. News Release: Fact Sheet: "'Return On Success' Guiding Principle For Troop Levels In Iraq," Office of the White House Press Secretary, September 13, 2007.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Satyam Khanna, "In Speech Tonight, Bush Will Lay Out Long-Term Plan To Stay In Iraq," Think Progress, September 13, 2007.
  4. Jennifer Loven, "Bush to pull at least 5,700 troops by end of the year," Associated Press ( Free Press), September 13, 2007.
  5. "Bush To Adopt Warner Drawdown Proposal — Is He ‘Hurting The Cause Of Freedom?’," Think Progress, September 13, 2007.
  6. Also see "The troops were coming out anyways," Think Progress, September 13, 2007.
  7. Doyle McManus, "Bush redefines 'victory'. In speeches, the president now stresses a more ambiguous goal for the U.S. in Iraq: 'success'," Los Angeles Times, September 14, 2007.

External articles