Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Baffled to "un-baffled"

I posted on another board yesterday that I was "baffled" by Bush's insistence on going through with his "surge option" (Escalation). At the risk of repeating myself for others who might frequent the same board, I still say that never in my memory has any Presidential speech been so thoroughly rejected, criticized, discredited or bashed IN ADVANCE as this one. Likewise, I can't remember so many details of a speech being "leaked" to the press so far in advance by any administration.

That is confusing in itself but here's the "biggie":

Conservatives are lining up in droves to reject Bush's surge option. News media are allowing people in opposition to the plan to speak in prime time. (My God! Chris Matthews (tweety) even had John Murtha on during prime time last night.)

Congress has pronounced Bush's plan DEAD ON ARRIVAL. And the new, Democratically controlled Congress owes it's very existence to THE WILL OF THE AMERICAN PUBLIC in REJECTING BUSH'S WAR.

But Bush is going right ahead with it as if none of this ever mattered.....Tony Snow tells us that the President "can and will" proceed with his plans. I have been baffled by this stubbornness and, to be honest, pure political tone-deafness until this morning when our friends over at The Next Hurrah put it in perspective. Take a look at these snippets (and read the whole entry if you have time):


From Gallup:

Going into the speech, however, it is known that the American public in
general opposes the concept of an increase in troops in Iraq. A number of polls
have shown that when given a choice between a set of alternative ways of
handling the troop situation in Iraq, only about 10% of Americans opt for the
alternative of increasing troops. The rest opt for withdrawal of troops either
immediately, within a 12-month timeframe, or by taking as much time as needed.

At the same time, it would not be unusual to find that support for the
president's probable call for more troops in Iraq -- once the proposed policy
shift is made public -- will be higher than this baseline minimum. This
assumption is based on the fact that the action will no longer be hypothetical,
but will have the institutional weight of the presidency behind it after the
Wednesday night speech. A surge will, in essence, have become the stated policy
of the country. It is particularly likely that Republicans will increase
their support for the policy after the president's announcement.

A new USA Today/Gallup poll conducted Jan. 5-7, 2007, provides
support for this possibility. The poll finds that only 12% opt for a troop
increase using the traditional four-alternatives question, little changed from
past polling. But the poll included a separate question that summarized
a possible "surge" announcement, and found that 36% support the idea of such an increase, while 61% oppose it.

What's clear from Bush's words, deeds, history and attitude is that he has no interest in being anything but the my-way-or-the-highway President of The Republican United States, the rest of the country be damned

In other words, the speech is intended to increase the President's support among his Republican base and in essence IGNORE the 61% who oppose it.

Now the "Million Dollar Question". Given the absolute MESS that Iraq is in as we speak, how in the world can he possibly think that there is anything that will even resemble a WIN in Iraq?

CNN published this report with a subtle hint of what's going on

Hundreds of U.S. and Iraqi troops battled with insurgents in a stronghold of the Sunni insurgency in central Baghdad Tuesday.

U.S. military sources said the insurgent group included elements from the Saddam Hussein regime, foreign fighters, and members of al Qaeda in Iraq.

Okay....got that? They sort of lumped all the possible "enemies" together under the heading of insurgents. And did you notice what word was missing? How about the word "Sunni"?

This is beginning to sound like the plan widely reported over the course of thee fall which was championed by none other than Vice President Cheney and nick-named The 80% Solution. That is, since the Shiia comprise 80% of the population and the Sunni only comprise 20%, we should side with the 80% and "stabilize" the country for that 80%. (See a more detailed description from The Washington Post, here)

That means the Sunni must be conquered or pacified or(lacking any other polite name for it) ethnically cleansed from Iraq. This ignores, of course, that our ally, Saudi Arabia is primarily Sunni and they have stated publicly that they will not sit by idly and allow this to happen. Neither will Syria. Iran, on the other hand, is just "tickled pink" with this kind of solution.

The 80% Solution is short-sighted and dangerous in the sense that it may (eventually) stabilize Iraq but will, in turn, destabilize the entire region.

So there you have it.....A way to be "unbaffled" by what the President is up to. Granted, it's all circumstantial evidence (except perhaps for the Gallup numbers) but it provides the only alternative to the other (and highly speculated upon) possibility that the President is delusional.....then again..........


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