Water Man Spouts

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Requim for a Lightweight

It is likely that yesterday will be remembered as a turning point in the American course in Iraq. What is unclear at this point is what direction our country is preparing to go in. It seemed evident when the public went to the polls in November that the vast majority of Americans reject the Bush-Cheney "vision" for Iraq, and it is safe to say most of us had hoped that the Baker-Hamilton group would put partisan interests on the hold, and advocate for the national good. Did they? It may be too early to say for sure.

One of the difficulties they face was summed up perfectly by President Bush’s line: "I urge the members of Congress to take this report seriously." No wonder his father broke down when talking about the measure of a person being their ability to deal with defeat. As one of my republican friends e-mailed me yesterday, "10 more servicemen dead today …. So 1 arrogant baby won’t have to admit he’s wrong."

I saw David Gergen on CNN last night. He noted that Bush has been in a bubble, isolated from reality, for three years now. He said that a growing problem is that his administration is inhabiting that same bubble. I thought of Tony Snow, a man who is so invested in that bubble that he has no more contact with reality than the followers of Jim Jones did in their final hours.

George W. Bush is not stable enough to be trusted to fetch a glass of water, much less run the country. He rants about "victory," though he has no concept of what that means. His measure of "victory" is found in the pre-sorted crowds of republican sheep who cheer him on. If he were given the opportunity to prance about in the uniform he has disgraced, in front of the troops he has betrayed, on that same aircraft carrier, George W. Bush would be convinced it was proof of "victory."

Gergen and others are saying that out of respect for the investment our nation has made, and the horrors that we created, we should respect the Baker group’s belief that we should consider giving it one last shot. That may be. It is worth our sincere consideration. But we need to be frank in discussing what that means, because it clearly can mean different things to different people.

The administration has been quietly proposing a "surge" aimed at confronting the Mahdi army of Muqtada al-Sadr. It is believed that this militia, which is 60,000 strong, is the second strongest military force in Iraq. When VP Cheney was beckoned to Saudi Arabia on November 25, it was to hear their concerns on the threat Iranian-backed Shi’ites posed to the Sunnis. This was further detailed in Nawaf Obaid’s op-ed in the Washinton Post last week.

President Bush had planned to push this issue in his meeting with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. But al-Maliki depends on al-Sadr’s support, and the threat of having that support withdrawn was the reason al-Maliki snubbed Bush. The anticipated lack of cooperation on the prime minister’s part was why the Hadley memo was leaked to the New York Times.

The U.S. military would defeat the Mahdi army in a "surge." But that is not the issue. What the price would be is. At this point, most Americans are not interested in having the Saudi "royal family" define US policy. In fact, the public is growing tired of "royal families," foreign or domestic. The November elections were a clear call for a national policy that represents our democratic principles.

I had read some of the reports and positions of the ISG from June on, before reading their final report. I urge people to take the time to carefully examine it. There is a great deal of important information contained in it. And there is evidence that many of the group’s members had diverse and sometimes conflicting opinions.

I’m a bit less impressed by the presentation yesterday. I felt that it was ½ Warren Commission, telling the public that President Bush was the "lone nut" that got us into the war, but that he is really a "good nut," and that we must ignore the systematic criminal activities of the PNAC/necroconservatives that brought our nation to war. And I thought that the other ½ was an updated version of "The Homecoming," where the Walton family deals with a family crisis by the grace of Grandpa Baker and Grandma O’Connor’s wisdom. I half expected Jim Baker to appear wearing bib overalls.

As Tom Friedman – hardly a progressive thinker – stated on the MSNBC Imus mourning show today, we need to end the US occupation of Iraq. It is one of the major causes of the violence. And we are training the "insurgents." Let’s not give any respectful attention to Tony Snow’s mantra that we need to train the Iraqis. They obviously know how to fight. We should quit sacrificing our soldiers to the president’s delusion and Dick Cheney’s lust for oil.

Friedman said that he imagines Bush curling up into a fetal position, under his bed, after being confronted by reality. Imus compared him to LBJ in his unstable phase at the end of his presidency. That reminded me of Gergen last night, saying that if there had been this type of commission in 1967, tens of thousands of American youth would not have had to die for nothing in Vietnam. I wish that the ISG’s report was enough to end the insanity of the war in Iraq. But, alas, it is not. Ten more servicemen died yesterday, because this president and vice president will not admit they are wrong.

How many more people – American and Iraqi – have to die because of Bush and Cheney’s "mistakes"? It seems clear to me that the IRG report can only be meaningful if we pressure Congress to impeach Bush and Cheney.


At December 7, 2006 at 10:33 AM, Blogger Ed said...

I am severely disappointed in this report.

Arguably, these are some of the finest minds in the country and they have no clue how to get us out of Iraq. Neither, in the alternative, have they given us any indication of how Iraq can be stabalized,(with or without the presence of American Troops). They leave us with all alternatives being mutually UNACCEPTABLE.

So what do we do now that the Spoiled Prince has kicked over the hornet's nest?

I feel terribly inadequate that I cannot find the answer...but, then again, neither did the Baker Commission.



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