Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Bush speaks.....and belittles us all
"Don't bullsh*t me.....it belittles us both."
-Jason Robards in `Parenthood'
Well, this was the one we've all been waiting for. I sat and listened to the president speak to the American people about Iraq, hoping that tonight's speech really would signify a change in strategy and a new direction. Recent events in Somalia and our new deployments in the Persian Gulf had me thinking that it actually was possible..that George W. Bush had indeed grown a spine.
As he went on, my emotions quickly went from skepticism to open mouthed disbelief and progressed to feelings that required me to take some time to relax a bit before commenting on what President Bush had to say.
In short, the president is still trying to convince the American people that the myth of `Arab democracy' is still viable, that Iraqi PM Maliki is someone who can be trusted, and that the wondrous Iraqi democracy is just around the corner, if we throw in more men and spend more money. In short, he wants to do some things that might have been effective three years ago, but are a long shot now.
To perform this magical transformation, the president is willing to appease the Sunnis and Shiites by selling out the Kurds and stealing the Kurds oil, to send another 20,000 American troops into Iraq to secure Baghdad and Anbar province and to train even more Iraqi troops and police..you know, the same folks who collect a paycheck from us by day and join the sectarian militias and death squads by night.
The president is still totally involved in this fantasy. He started out by saying that the Iraqi people `cast their ballots for a unified and democratic nation' when even astute Iraqis themselves admit that the votes broke down on tribal and sectarian lines. Would an electorate interested in democracy and unity have given 30 seats to the likes of Moqtada al-Sadr, or voted in politicians and parties with major ties to the fascist regime in Iran?
Of course, rushing people into an election they weren't prepared for after a year and a half and allowing Iran friendly parties and politicians to participate was just another one of those regrettable miscalculations the Bush Administration made in Iraq..but not one the president was going to acknowledge tonight, of course.
President Bush went on to talk a bit about how dangerous `failure' in Iraq would be, using these words: "The consequences of failure are clear: Radical Islamic extremists would grow in strength and gain new recruits. They would be in a better position to topple moderate governments, create chaos in the region, and use oil revenues to fund their ambitions. Iran would be emboldened in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Our enemies would have a safe haven from which to plan and launch attacks on the American people."
You mean this isn't happening already, Mr.President? As for safe havens, the big ones are Pakistan, Iran and Syria - none of which I've seen you doing much about, frankly. The jihadis bring in arms and fighters, attack our troops and run back across the border...or into safe havens in places like Sadr City in Baghdad, where that `democratic government' forbids us to go in after them.
And speaking of Iran - they've been committing acts of war against us and killing our men for almost thirty years now, and we've known about their nuclear weapons program now for over 3 years. If anything is `emboldening Iran', it's the Bush Administration's lack of a forceful response. The president made some bold noises tonight about `addressing Iran and Syria', disrupting `the attacks on our forces, and interrupting `the flow of support from Iran and Syria'. Confronting Iran and Syria is the real key to success in this war, as Ive been saying for the last three years. Hopefully, President Bush is serious about this for a change.
Also, on the positive side, the president finally acknowledged the ridiculous Rules of Engagement our troops have been handcuffed with are `too restrictive' and that he plans to change that. And in General Petraeus, he selected a fine commander to implement this policy. In view of the president's obsession with `winning hearts and minds', `the Arab street' and forcing our army act like policemen instead of soldiers, I'll reserve judgment and hope for the best.
The president went on to detail some of the steps he planned to take, and some of the things he claims Maliki is going to. They involve our training even more Iraqi police and troops and embedding our guys next to them...proof indeed that they mostly can't be trusted on their own not to revert to sectarianism and reinforcing the militias. What's more, he's expecting Maliki to act against his own political base, which is led by none other than Moqtada al Sadr and his Iranian backed Mahdi Army.
A key sign as to whether this is even working will be whether there is an initial outbreak of fighting involving the Mahdi Army or whether things are quiet. If there's fighting, then it might mean that Maliki is serious about curbing the militias. If things are quiet, then Maliki has cut a deal and has simply cautioned al-Sadr and the Mahdi Army to lay low for awhile.
President Bush also, of course, talked about throwing more of our money at the problem for infrastructure' and `economic programs'. Not only that, but the Iraqi government is going to pass legislation to steal the Kurds oil and distribute it to the central Iraqi government (in direct violation to the federal constitution the Kurds signed on to, by the way) thus royally screwing our only true allies in Iraq as well as providing even more graft for Iraqi politicians to supplement what they are stealing from the aid money we're giving them. That's IF the Kurds go along with it, which they may very well not, opting for full independence instead.
I particularly liked the part where the President talked about the Iraqi government committing $10 billion `of their own money' for job programs and infrastructure..as if his fellow Americans don't know where the Iraqi government's `own money' came from!
The president then once again outlined his fantasy: "From Afghanistan to Lebanon to the Palestinian Territories, millions of ordinary people are sick of the violence, and want a future of peace and opportunity for their children." Maybe so, Dubbya,but there are millions more - the majority - who want domination and revenge, and in the `Palestinian' territories and Lebanon, extermination for the Jews and Israel. Perhaps President Bush missed out on the results of the last few democratic elections in those places that put Hamas in power and gave Hezbollah a parliamentary majority.
That's the reality we should be looking at.
President Bush is correct about these people looking at Iraq - and a lot of them are concluding that the Americans, particularly their president are not to be taken seriously. A forceful attitude towards our enemies would do much to change this attitude.
The president wound up with a few remarks about resolve, how evil the terrorists were ( as if we needed reminding) and about how our nation was being tested.
And then he came out with this gem:
"Victory will not look like the ones our fathers and grandfathers achieved. There will be no surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship. But victory in Iraq will bring something new in the Arab world -- a functioning democracy that polices its territory, upholds the rule of law, respects fundamental human liberties, and answers to its people. A democratic Iraq will not be perfect. But it will be a country that fights terrorists instead of harboring them -- and it will help bring a future of peace and security for our children and our grandchildren."
It's about at that point that I started yelling at the radio.
This is the leader of our nation at war, essentially saying that achieving a decisive victory over our enemies is out of reach, but that we should suffer a slow, costly war of attrition while waiting for these people to somehow get their act together, play nicely with the rest of us and emerge into the 21st century..in spite of a lifetime of cultural and religious indoctrination in exactly the opposite direction.
I differ with the president here, to put it mildly. Victory in this war will very much resemble the victory in World War II, with a defeated and humiliated enemy surrendering to overwhelming force and abandoning a discredited ideology. That is the only kind of victory that will end the threat of jihad against the West once and for all, and could actually lead to a change in the Islamist mindset, as it did with the Germans and Japanese.
This little paragraph says volumes about why President Bush has never confronted Pakistan, Iran or Syria abroad or the Saudis and the UAE funding jihad here at home in America. To him, they're not our enemies...just some hearts and minds that need to be won over. And in the case of the Saudis and the UAE, nice, friendly folks to do bidness with, especially when they give you lots of cash for things like speaking fees and $500M Presidential libraries once you leave office.
No wonder the American people have no use for him at this point. We don't have much tolerance for losers.
The president's plan is a major long shot that could, of course, work out - if we're really prepared to confront Iran and Syria, if Maliki can be trusted, if the rules of engagement are really going to be changed to allow our troops to fight the war they need to fight. If Bush is able to pull at least most of this off, he will - perhaps - have rescued his presidency.
Let's just say that based on the president's track record and his ideas on what `victory' looks like, I have my doubts. And frankly, I'm sick and tired of the President treating us with contempt and belittling us by not giving the American people credit for some elementary common sense.