This is not rank speculation; it's based on a series of memos from one of the Pentagon's top brass.
In a Dec. 6 memo to top civilian and military folks, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England outlined the Pentagon's eight priorities for this fiscal year, and No. 1 was "Win the Global War on Terror," or GWOT.... before the next presidential election, of course.
The No. 3 goal was "Meet the Challenge of Improvised Explosive Devices." No. 8 was "Improve Effectiveness and Efficiency Across the Board." England warned that meeting these goals "will inform our decisions on individual senior employee performance ratings." That means their paychecks.
In a Feb. 15 memo, England spotted a key fact that most everyone in this town has overlooked. "At noon on Jan. 20, 2009," he wrote, "many of the civilian Department of Defense (DOD) leadership positions will transition to a new Administration Team. This change, coupled with the normal rotation of military leadership, could disrupt many of the management process changes currently underway in the Department."
So "to ensure that warfighters and taxpayers receive maximum benefit from on-going initiatives," England suggested, "it would be highly desirable to complete current projects by the summer/fall of 2008."
There's a handy "notional" grid with the memos, with the eight priorities down the left side and quarterly milestones for 2007 and 2008 across the top. Little triangles denote the "expected milestone conclusion date."
Sure enough, the GWOT looks to be over around October 2008, just a month before ...
So now we've got The History of the Future at our fingertips. George W. Bush's legacy is clear: he will become The Man Who Won the Global War on Terror.
The American people can forgive a president for starting a war based on a lie, as long we win! Or at least that's the theory. And if the Declaration of Victory is as bogus as the Declaration of War, that's only fitting, isn't it?
So the surge can go on for a little while longer, then we can start drawing down the regular forces, being sure to leave enough
Thus he would morph from War President to Conquering Hero Of The Global Terror War, and go down in history as the Greatest President Ever. Or at least that's the theory.
Of course the violence in Iraq won't go away, and soon after the January 2009 inauguration, there will be people saying we have to go back: to restore their democracy, or remove their dictator, or rid the country of weapons of mass destruction, or all of the above. Public opinion will not support such a course of action, at least not without another catalyzing event ... which could spark another war, which the USA would win (of course!) in October of 2016!
Just a month before ...
Oh yeah ... I got it all figured out.