February 23, 2007 by lonbud
The Bright Side Of Life
Prime Minister Tony Blair announced this week nearly one quarter of the British forces deployed in Iraq will be leaving by May, and promised even more would be decommissioned from the war-torn former nation by the end of the year.
The announcement was greeted with speculation that the man whose political career may be defined by (among many things garnered during a long career in civil service) the sobriquet “Bush’s poodle” (for his unflagging support of the American president’s ill-fated venture in regime change), with an eye toward the end of his own term in office, is finally listening to his military commanders on the ground, to the pleas of his Labor Party members (whose numbers are in free-fall in British polls), and to the demands of the British public, a majority of whom has opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning.
Almost all sober, clear-thinking people in the U.S., Britain, and worldwide viewed Mr. Blair’s decision as appropriate to the circumstances, and as definitive evidence the U.S. is not likely to succeed in dictating Iraq’s immediate or near-term development.
Vice President Dick Cheney, on the other hand, saw Mr. Blair’s announcement as “an affirmation of the fact that there are parts of Iraq where things are going pretty well.”
Once upon a time, the Bush administration touted the fact that its “mission” in Iraq was vindicated by the support of a coalition of 38 countries’ military assistance in the quest to rid the world of Saddam Hussein, to secure control of Iraq’s vast oil reserves, and to “plant seeds of freedom” in the Middle East that might ensure order, if not tranquility, and predictability, if not control, of a species lately awakened to the concept of globalization.
Today there are 21 nations with combat troops on the ground in Iraq. In August 2007, when Denmark gives its entire fighting force of 460 brave soldiers (the 6th largest non-U.S. force in Iraq) tickets back to the smoky bars and irreverent cartoons, the drinking and dancing and unbridled joy of their culture — for which Al Qaeda-taepadong terrorists presumably hate them just as much as they hate us — there will be 20.
What’s increasingly clear is the entire world outside the Bush White House, the U.S. Congress, the American mainstream media, and a dwindling number of American citizens sees the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Iraq for what it is. And the fact that few people anywhere have great confidence in Iraqis sorting things out in friendly fashion among themselves isn’t even the worst part of the deal.
The Bush-Cheney Juggernaut appears intent on provoking additional conflict with Iran, whose Shiite regime stands only to gain by a British retreat from the South. Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney seem willing to drive the “we won’t cut and run” stake as far into the heart of the Middle East as they can before leaving office .
Which is what Mr. Cheney meant by “going well,” I believe. I can see him now, in the second or third row behind Eric Idle at the end of Monty Python’s Life of Brian:
“Always look on the bright side of Life, do do do, do do do do do do, Always look on the bright side of Life…”