THERE have been signs recently that President Bush is losing touch with reality. One was his light-hearted speech to an audience of economists as Wall Street was contemplating recession and another was his remark that he is looking forward to “putting my feet up” - a crass comment when everyone knows they will have to live with the mistakes he has made for years to come.

Yesterday there was further evidence when he claimed in a speech on the eve of the 5th anniversary of the Iraq invasion that “Because we acted the world is better and the US is safer”. It has been noticeable throughout Mr Bush's presidency that he chooses a military audience when he has controversial things to say. Yesterday he told serving officers at the Pentagon that the “high costs in lives and treasure are necessary when we consider the cost of a strategic victory for our enemies in Iraq.” It was noticeable that throughout his speech the President spoke about the Iraq war in relation to the threat from Al-Qaeda and the wider “war on terror”. Perhaps he did not hear Barack Obama's very pertinent recent comment that “There would be no Al-Qaeda in Iraq if we had not invaded.” Mr Bush implicitly criticised Hillary Clinton and Obama, saying they wanted “retreat” and that no one could claim “we are losing in Iraq”. No, not “losing” Mr President -- you have already lost.