Chris's Rants

Thursday, August 18, 2005

David Ignatius is an Idiot

In his op-ed piece in the WaPo today, David Ignatius pens this dreck - 'Hard Slog' for Bush:
President Bush is saying the right thing about Iraq, which is that there is no easy fix for a war that his defense secretary correctly termed 'a long, hard slog.' But Bush is conveying this message in a detached way that upsets and angers growing numbers of Americans. The evaporation of political support at home is palpable. If the administration can't explain its war aims better, it may soon face a Vietnam-style tipping point.

First, let's look at what the president is doing right: At a time when anguished Americans are calling for a quick withdrawal from Iraq, Bush is telling them a painful truth.
Bullsh*t. The president has yet to level with the country. It isn't because he is communicating in a "detached way", he has simply repeated the same talking points he's been using all along: that "we're in a 'war on terror'", that "we're fighting them there, so we don't have to fight them here", and that "we're making progress" in training Iraqis to defend themselves, that "we're laying the foundations for peace and democracy".

The administration can't explain its war aims, because to do so would be the fastest path to impeachment as they are both immoral and illegal.
"Pulling the troops out [now] would send a terrible signal to the enemy," he said last Thursday in Crawford, Tex. And Bush was right to avoid confirming any big reduction in U.S. troop levels in Iraq next year. Such a bring-the-troops-home message might buy him a respite in the public opinion polls, but it would undermine a fragile Iraqi government at a crucial time.
This drivel fails to mention the fact that the reason that there is an insurgency is a direct result of our occupation. This nonsense is predicated on believing the administration's claims that the insurgency is fueled mostly by foreign terrorists sponsored by al Qaeda, which the pentagon admits is clearly not the case. The insurgency is fueled by Iraqis who do not want to be occupied and by former Baathist party members who want a return to power. If Bush hadn't ordered the Iraqi army to be disbanded, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in now, having to train a new one from scratch. It's too late to put that genie back in the bottle. It takes years to develop a trained army from scratch, yet "we're making good progress" and the president is "pleased with the progress" we're making in training the Iraqi troops, despite the fact that at best, according to the Pentagon, there's 2,500 - 3,000 troops who could stand on their own without U.S. support.
Finally, I credit the spirit of realpolitik that undergirds the administration's upbeat talk. Last Sunday's story in The Post headlined "U.S. Lowers Sights on What Can Be Achieved in Iraq" mirrored what you hear privately from generals and senior officials. They know the war is going badly, and they have been crafting a strategy that puts more responsibility on Iraqis and less on U.S. troops. That doesn't mean an American withdrawal, but it does mean a lower U.S. profile, and a mission focused on training and advising Iraqi security forces.
Realpolitik?! You have got to be kidding me. The cognitive dissonance created by the disconnect between the rhetoric out of the White House and that from the military brass (as opposed to their political masters) in the Pentagon is enough to make one's head explode. The administration hasn't bought into the realpolitik at all. Bush is still safely ensconced in his fantasy world, where seldom is heard, a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day.
I have no doubt that Bush grieves for every fallen soldier. But he undercuts his leadership role with his seeming insensitivity to Cindy Sheehan. Whatever her personal quirks, this grieving mother has become a symbol for the families who are paying the real cost of the war. Once she began her vigil in Crawford, a presidential listening mission would have seemed like a no-brainer -- except at this White House, which appears to regard any concession to a critic as a mistake. Bush reinforced this appearance of insensitivity in a comment Saturday that was quoted by Cox News Service. He said that while he wants to be "thoughtful and sensitive" to people who want to talk to him, "I think it's also important for me to go on with my life."
More cluelessness, and the prerequisite smear of Cindy Sheehan. What an asshole. First off, Bush has demonstrated since day one, that he couldn't give a rats ass for our fallen soldiers. He hasn't attended a single funeral. Not one. Not even to honor the loss of twenty (20) troops to a single Ohio battalion, despite the fact that many of his die-hard supporters on the right including the editorial page of the WSJ urged him to do so. No, it was far more important that he "get on with his life" despite the fact that none of those twenty would be getting on with theirs. What a sociopath.
Ignatius closes with this incongruous statement (emphasis mine):
The measure of leadership isn't dealing with success but dealing with difficulty. Bush is now in that bitter cockpit. Somehow the president must find a way to level with the country and build support for a sustainable policy that puts more of the burden on Iraqis. A good start for Bush would be to come back to Washington early from Texas and start thinking how the nation as a whole can share in the sacrifices required by this long, hard slog.
Excuse me, but how the hell does that reconcile with the statement in the second paragraph that Bush is "telling a painful truth". American support for the president, his policies as regards Iraq and the war on terror is not at 34% because the first rancher has done a poor job of communicating. It is because they now realize that the premise for war was based on lies and deceit. This was a war of choice, not necessity. The tipping point is not something that the administration "will soon face", it has long since passed. 56% now believe that the administration lied about the threat posed by Saddam and Iraq, and lied about the (non-existant) connections with al Qaeda and 9/11. Seems to me that that is way beyond the tipping point.

At least Ignatius' column is counter-balanced by this one by Harold Meyerson:
Indeed, the Bush presidency is perilously close to one of the greatest, and surely the strangest, foreign and military policy failures in American history. We lost in Vietnam, to be sure, but Vietnam would have gone to the Communists whether or not we intervened. The dissolution of Iraq, however, should it proceed further, is the direct consequence of Bush's decision to intervene unilaterally and of the particular kind of occupation that he mandated. And that dissolution, we should recall, goes well beyond the political. Unemployment in Iraq exceeds 50 percent. Electrical power is on, in midsummer Baghdad, for four hours a day.

At great expense in resources and human life, we have substituted one living hell for another in Iraq. Things may yet turn out better than I fear they will. But right now there's a sickeningly good prospect that we will have set in motion a predictable chain of events culminating in the creation of both a sphere of terrorist activity and a sub-state allied with the mullahs of Iran.

Last week U.S. forces in Iraq discovered what looked to be a cache of chemical weapons, but determined that the arsenal had been assembled by the insurgent thugs who emerged after Hussein's fall. We have created the very dangers we intervened to prevent. Some policy. Some president.
The only way that Bush could possibly redeem himself at this point would be to address the American public, and the rest of the world for that matter, to apologize for leading the country into an unnecessary war of his choosing, admit that he f***ed up big-time in every aspect of his administration's post-invasion policies and return the country to adult supervision by both his and Cheney's resignation. Of course, that would never happen (and worse yet, we'd be stuck with Dennis Hastert as president... I'm sickened to even think of the prospect).


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