W's Word Game
I happened by accident upon Bush's State of the Union address last night exactly when he said
And whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure.Uh, neither the House nor the Senate nor the public has ever been presented with the options of voting for success in Iraq and voting for failure. So, of course, no one voted for failure since they didn't have an opportunity to.
What the people of America overwhelmingly voted for was anyone who was against Bush's war policies. That is why the Democrats are in power. If he wishes to characterize those who ran for election who support his war policies as "victory candidates" and those who ran who don't support his war policies as "failure candidates" then on that assumption the American people voted for failure in Iraq. But that was not how the last election was framed.
The people overwhelmingly are opposed to Bush's war policy in Iraq. They showed that in the last election and they have showed it in opinion polls before the election, after the election, and after Bush presented his "new policy" in Iraq -- his "troop surge" plan. The thing is that as I read it, the American people would prefer victory in Bush's sense to defeat but believe that a Bush-style victory is impossible to achieve given the FUBAR state of affairs that Bush's policies have created.
In my opinion, what the American people have said and what the Iraq Study Group said is that we need to pull our troops out of Iraq and if that results Bush's worst case scenario
Chaos is the greatest ally -- their greatest ally -- in this struggle. And out of chaos in Iraq would emerge an emboldened enemy with new safe havens, new recruits, new resources, and an even greater determination to harm America.so be it.
To allow this to happen would be to ignore the lessons of September the 11th and invite tragedy.
You will note that Bush uses here the gift that just keeps giving, the 9/11 attack. It is his "Scary Idea" hole card, which is played any time his candidates or his policies are under attack in the hopes of scaring us into going along with him. The problem is that if he had just left Iraq alone, the chaos he fears would never have happened. He created the conditions for this chaos. And there is nothing he can do to stop it but nuke the entire country back into the stone age (which wouldn't work either since the rest of the world would gang up on us).
As I noted in the post just cited, the 9/11 attack, viewed objectively, was a blip on the American historical record. The economy was barely affected. And we lose more Americans on average each month on our roads and highways than we lost people (of many countries) that sad day. I do not mean to minimize the losses to the families and friends of those who were killed but their pain is no greater than that of a parent who loses a kid in a highway accident, to say nothing of the pain of the parents, spouses, or children of someone killed in this incredibly stupidly crafted war, the only purpose of which any more is to save what can be saved of Bush's reputation.
War ought to be a sobering notion and we ought to reflect soberly on it, accepting our defeats where they come, as in the case of the Vietnam War and Iraq, and celebrating the victories when they come. There is no War on Terror -- that is another Bush word game. There is an international crime problem and so far the most effective way of dealing with it has been with police work and where it is truly necessary military action, as in Afghanistan. Unfortunately Bush was so eager to get on with his war in Iraq that he left the job in Afghanistan unfinished and the Taliban are, as a result, experiencing a surge in their influence and power there. Saddam, son of a bitch that he was, was a secular Muslim. That's the best kid just as secular Christians and Jews are the best kind.
The American people seem to want us to withdraw our troops and get on with the tracking down and killing of terrorists using criminal investigations and the use of are special forces units and their toys such as the Predator and later innovations, better and more powerful sniper rifles, and the like. I don't question the need to kill terrorists. I do question a President who uses a tragedy like 9/11 to get us to support a policy that has absolutely no chance of working (more is not always mo' betta') and will put more American troops in harms way since they will be quite unable to tell insurgent or Sunni killer or Shiite killer from the nice man who owns a grocery store. And the really sad fact is that they will be fighting alongside supporters of all three groups. Would you want your son or daughter or father or mother fighting in a unit comprised of Iraqi soldiers given their their recent track record?