November 30, 2005 by lonbud
Lather, Rinse, Repeat
President Bush made yet another “major policy” speech on the war in Iraq today, accompanied by the release of his National Strategy for Victory in Iraq, a 35 page document attractively bound in a cover of red, white, and blue.
In his speech, the President repeated mantras about the “shared ideology” between the terrorists who attacked the U.S. in 2001 and those who continue to ravage American forces and Iraqi civil society on a daily basis today. He reasserted his conviction that “this is hard work” and that “we are making progress” and that one day a “free Iraq” will stand as a beacon to the entire Middle East and the world.
He was less clear, however, about how we may expect things to go in the meantime.
The President’s speech before the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD was mainly a re-tread of the same assurances he and his administration have been making for most of the past two years, after he stood on the deck of the USS Lincoln and declared the “mission accomplished, ” and after the absence of any real “strategy for victory” became more and more apparent.
The National Strategy document released today is an unclassified version of the “strategy” that has been guiding the American effort all along, designed, apparently, to counter the administration’s sinking stature in opinion polls reporting the number of Americans with confidince in the President’s handling of the Iraq adventure.
Again, the President implored, “this is hard work,” “we are making progress,” “the Iraqis will take over soon,” “trust me, you’ll see.”
The wheels of history roll slowly, to be sure, and it may be too soon to tell whether Mr. Bush will be seen to have ridden a chariot on them through an Arc de Triumph, or whether he’ll be portrayed as having been crushed under their relentless path — but one clue in his speech today suggests he may be slightly off in the calculation of his own potential fame and grandeur.
Echoing a theme prevalent among the administration and its supporters in the run-up to war — when Saddam Hussein and the threat of his henceforth undiscovered weapons of mass destruction were likened to Adolph Hitler and the threat of Nazi totalitarianism that begat World War II — the President again today evoked that war, and sought to compare the idea of American withdrawal from Iraq with what might have happened had we withdrawn from World War II before Hitler and Nazi Germany were crushed.
This is such a facile and inappropriate analogy, it’s both incredible the President still gets away with making it, and telling as to the depths of delusion under which he and his administration continue to operate.
Let’s be clear here:
Hitler commanded a sophisticated, well-equipped, relentless fighting force with obvious designs on dominating as much of the globe as it could tear asunder. Saddam controlled a rag-tag band of ill-equipped, under-fed toy soldiers who disappeared into the desert sands and the reeds of the Tigris and Euphrates at the first sign of any real opposition to Saddam’s megalomaniacal fantasies.
Millions and millions of Americans joined the war effort and willingly sacraficed en masse to defeat Germany and Japan in World War II; the country was joined by allied forces from countries throughout the world against the axis powers in that war.
Aside from the negligible contributions of a few symbolic allies, the Iraq adventure has been a creation and production of the U.S. military alone. And the only Americans who have willingly sacraficed anything in this war are the 2100 plus dead, and many tens of thousands of wounded American soldiers who are the true casualties (along with uncounted thousands of Iraqi civilians) of George W. Bush’s hubris.
One actual new “stratgey” out of the Bush camp recently, came on the wings of an “epiphany” Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld had over the weekend. From here on out, we ought to stop calling them “insurgents” because “You know, that gives them a greater legitimacy than they seem to merit,” according to Mr. Rumsfeld. If we call them “enemies of the legitimate Iraqi government” it will “turn the tide in the struggle in freedom’s favor.”
As Mr. Bush said today, critics of this war are “flat wrong” if they claim “we’re not learning from our experience or adjusting our tactics to meet the challenges on the ground.”
Sort of like the strategic initiative the administration floated several months ago, which held the war would go better if the press would just stop reporting on all the negative things happening in Iraq every day.
Some of the things the President did not mention today, and which have seen scant attention in the press, are the increasing activity of death squads and a continuing program of torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners as “strategies” in the turning of freedom’s tide.
While Mr. Bush may believe he’s got a National Strategy for Victory in Iraq, he’ll be leaving his successors the task of coming up with one for healing the deep divisions he’s created in the country at home, and for repairing America’s tarnished reputation abroad.