For the sake of maintaining my personal sanity, I didn't watch the pResident's speech as it was broadcast live last night. (Because of some nation-wide synchronization issues, there is speculation that it was taped and edited....) I have, however, suffered through video clips of portions of the speech and transcribed highlights (if you can call them that) in order to get a sense of what he was saying and, most importantly, what he is REALLY GOING TO DO....You see, that's always been an issue with Bush. He speaks in code, sort of a Neocon version of speaking in tongues, if you will. Normal, rational American Citizens think he is saying one thing while the true believers are getting a coded message of what he's really going to do. Take this snippet from the speech for example:
This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two
regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in
and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American
troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of
support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks
providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.
and then this clip from Reuters News Service:
US forces have stormed an Iranian consulate in theSee what I mean? On some of the more active message boards this morning, there is rampant speculation that the two Aircraft Carrier Task Forces that have been dispatched to the area are there to unleash airstrikes against both Iran and Syria to implement the simple paragraph in Bush's speech....that's possibly what he REALLY MEANT.
northern Iraqi town of Irbil and seized five members of staff according to a
Breaking News BBC report logged in at 9:27 am UK time.
Beyond that, Bush presented a rational for his "surge" (ESCALATION) last night that presented us with the incredible dilema that faces us in Iraq. Let's examine this a little bit.
If there was one moment of Bush's speech last night that gave me any pause at all it was the prima facie rational point that there is grave danger to the United States if Iraq becomes another Afghanistan and, hence, a breeding ground for terrorit organizations which may, eventually, attack the United States. Granted, that's a bit of a stretch, but then again, we didn't believe a bunch of rag-tag extremists hiding in caves in Afghanistan could bring down the twin towers either. So we're left with a classic "what if" situation.
Now before I go further let's get a couple of things straight.
First, the reason Iraq is "cocked up" (as our British friends like to call it) is because George W. Bush and his merry band of Neocon zealots made an ugly hash out of it. Not only was it a bad idea to go into Iraq in the first place but it was also done so incompetently that nobody could have f-ed it up worse if they had tried.
Now Bush tells us that we can't pull out because we can't leave the place in such a mess....he's ignoring, of course that he made the mess in the first place....He's like the classic story of a child who murders his parents and then begs the court for mercy because he's an orphan! I do not absolve George W. Bush and his administration from any blame and I think Bush should leave office in disgrace and live in virtual exile in Crawford in a drunken stupor for the rest of his miserable days.
But that doesn't negate the "what if " scenario.
Can we leave Iraq as a mess? If not, how, exactly do we clean up the mess?
Sydney Blumenthal has a rather pessimistic view in Vanity Fair:
Maliki's management and subsequent defense of the
gruesome circus surrounding Saddam's execution disabused any illusion that he
could act in the larger Iraqi national interest rather than as a political
representative of Shiite sectarianism. He is to his marrow a creature of the
Dawa Party, founded by Muqtada al-Sadr's father, and his alliance with al-Sadr.
While the intent of the surge is to revitalize the Maliki government, that
government cannot and does not wish to be reformed. The problem is not merely
that Maliki is a weak political leader, or that his political coalition wouldn't
permit it, or that his Iranian sponsors wouldn't allow repudiation -- all of
which are indisputably true. The irreducible reason is that Maliki
exists only to achieve Shiite control, and if he did not he would not exist.
There is no other Maliki. Nor can Bush invent one.
Bush's "surge," therefore, is a military plan
that cannot produce its stated political outcome and will instead further
unleash the forces he claims will be controlled. His offensive to
subdue the Sunni insurgents, for example, is already accelerating the ethnic
cleansing of Baghdad by the Shiite militias, which, rather than being contained,
are further empowered.
Wow! So what is the solution?
(read the whole article at this link) By the by....this is the same article where it is reported that Bush privately referred to the ISG (Iraq Study Group) Report as "a flaming turd".
I offer a "modest proposal".
Write off Iraq to the Shiia militia, to Iran and deal with the aftermath and consequences. "Make nice" with the governments of Iran and Syria and offer them incentives (diplomatese for BRIBES)to keep the radicals from exporting their Jihad against the United States This requires diplomacy and I'm not sure the Bush administration is capable of it after six years of militarizing U. S. Foreign Policy and marginalizing the State Department but, hell, there isn't much let to do....it involves facing reality....which is also something the Bush Administration isn't too good at.
It doesn't look too promising that the administration will understand the reality of the situation. Here's what Secretary Rice had to say this morning:
Before her testimony at a congressional hearing, Rice defended Bush's new plan on morning television news shows. "The most important message is ... the enormous stakes we have in Iraq, that in fact we cannot afford to fail," she told CBS' "The Early Show."
"...we cannot afford to fail," We're still talking about Iraq like it was a football game.