March 19, 2006 by lonbud
It Ain’t Over ‘Till It’s Over
On the 3rd Anniversary of the United States’ commencement of hostilities in Iraq, the government’s top three executives, President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld asked a watching world today to suspend belief in reality and accept the notion that War is Peace.
Confronted on the CBS news program “Face the Nation” with his statement three years ago that American troops would be “greeted as liberators” in Iraq, and with his assurance ten months ago that the insurgency there was “in its last throes,” Mr. Cheney said his statements were “basically accurate” and blamed the news media for creating a different “perception” by reporting on the daily litany of death and destruction that have plagued the nation since American troops stage-managed the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue in a Baghdad square three weeks after the invasion.
Mr. Cheney sought to distance himself from the inaccuracy of his previous statements about the war by looking to the future. “It’s not just about Iraq, it’s not about just today’s situation in Iraq,” he said. “It’s about where we’re going to be 10 years from now in the Middle East and whether or not there’s going to be hope and the development of the governments that are responsive to the will of the people, that are not a threat to anyone, that are not safe havens for terror or manufacturers of weapons of mass destruction.”
For his part, the architect of the American war effort, Mr. Rumsfeld wrote in an op-ed piece published in the Washington Post that failing to see the job finished in Iraq would be akin to our having turned post-war Germany over to the Nazis after Word War II, or to asking former Soviet-bloc nations to return to Soviet domination after the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe.
Let it not be said that anyone in the Bush administration is bereft of delusions of grandeur.
When the war was launched, the Pentagon expected a short conflict. Its classified plans called for the withdrawal of the majority of American troops by the fall of 2003. Today roughly 133,000 remain there on combat duty and force commanders predict that “significant numbers” of troops will be required for at least “a couple more years.”
The President, who stood on a U.S. aircraft carrier in yet another stage-managed set piece in May of 2003 to declare the mission accomplished, failed to answer questions today about the disparity between his expectations three years ago and the present reality in Iraq, saying only, “I’m encouraged by the progress,” before retreating to the cozy confines of the big house on Pennsylvania Avenue in the nation’s capitol.
Meanwhile, Ayad Allawi, the former Prime Minister of Iraq who was once hailed by Mr. Bush as the kind of fair-minded leader needed by the Iraqi people, put things rather bluntly in an interview with the BBC: “We are in civil war.”
So there you have it, we’re either doing a “heckuva job” in Iraq, or the country is about to go into the toilet.
For those of you keeping score at home, 2318 American service personnel have perished in the three years of this war; 17,124 have been wounded. Iraqi casualties remain uncounted.