By Joshua Holland
Posted on January 11, 2007
Honestly, I would love to know to what degree Bush is consciously snowing the American people and to what degree he's just completely unhinged from reality.
I suspect that he really does believe that the multi-faceted conflict in Iraq can be boiled down to this description from last night:
On one side are those who believe in freedom and moderation. On the other side are extremists who kill the innocent and have declared their intention to destroy our way of life.
On one side there are puppies and rainbows and steaming casseroles of perfectly delicious homemade macaroni-and-cheese with that delightful crust on top. They're with us. On the other side are panting, foul-smelling, cross-eyed Islamofascists intent on gang-raping those puppies. How can we just walk away from the cute little puppies? How?
Consider a few other excerpts from last night's speech. My favorite part -- one that came close to eliciting a classic spit-take -- was this …
We are also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East… We will expand intelligence sharing and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies.
That'll protect 'em from the mighty al Qaeda air force. I pictured Jon Stewart doing his Bush impersonation: "See, you aim 'em real low and you can use 'em to shoot IEDs."
(He was probably thinking about the "grave and gathering threat" posed by Iran's medium-range missiles. Of course, Iran is as likely as Canada to shoot off a few unprovoked rounds at its neighbors -- the Iranians' are sitting in the cat-bird seat thanks to Bush's war, and their policy is all about pushing their increased influence as far as they can without giving the U.S. any excuse to attack Tehran.)
Then there was this:
Acting on the good advice of Senator Joe Lieberman and other key members of Congress, we will form a new, bipartisan working group that will help us come together across party lines to win the war on terror. This group will meet regularly with me and my administration. It will help strengthen our relationship with Congress.
Somewhere, Holy Joe was slugging down his third martini and mumbling, "thanks, asshole with the 26% approval rating, for dragging me into it. After all I've done for that guy over the years …"
The elections of 2005 were a stunning achievement. We thought that these elections would bring the Iraqis together, and that as we trained Iraqi security forces, we could accomplish our mission with fewer American troops.
Yes, but the decision to go in with a "lighter foot-print" was made in 2002, and your wingnut friends have been bitching about it since 2003.
Anyway, Bush, like Krauthammer and the rest of the neocons, was all about blaming those dirty wogs for ruining his otherwise brilliant vision of transformation.
He said, "Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me." That single line brought about a post titled "Contrite Bush Admits Mistakes" on the The Guardian's news-blog. And then:
Our past efforts to secure Baghdad failed for two principal reasons: There were not enough Iraqi and American troops to secure neighborhoods that had been cleared of terrorists and insurgents. And there were too many restrictions on the troops we did have.
In earlier operations, political and sectarian interference prevented Iraqi and American forces from going into neighborhoods that are home to those fueling the sectarian violence.
This time, of course, everything should work out fine with just a few thousand more troops …
This time, Iraqi and American forces will have a green light to enter these neighborhoods, and Prime Minister Maliki has pledged that political or sectarian interference will not be tolerated.
Never mind that it was al Maliki who, you know, demanded that we stay out of Sadr City in the first place. But this time he'll be good.
I have made it clear to the prime minister and Iraq's other leaders that America's commitment is not open-ended. If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people -- and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people.
The funny thing is that the "Iraqi government" now has a hell of a lot more support from the American people than the Iraqi people.
Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops… 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.
Of course the Shiite militias reportedly getting support from Iran are primarily focused on blowing up their Sunni neighbors. No mention of Bush's friends in Saudi Arabia, who are funding the Sunni insurgents responsible for the majority of American deaths.
That despite the fact that everything that's gone wrong is, according to the preznit, ultimately the fault of the Sunnis. See, here's what happened:
Al Qaeda terrorists and Sunni insurgents recognized the mortal danger that Iraq's elections posed for their cause. And they responded with outrageous acts of murder aimed at innocent Iraqis … in a calculated effort to provoke Iraq's Shia population to retaliate. Their strategy worked. Radical Shia elements, some supported by Iran, formed death squads.
We gave them Freedom™ wrapped up in a shiny bow, but we shouldn't have included the gift receipt because they just took it to the returns department and traded it in for some RPGs.
Glad we cleared that up, and I'm really glad that none of this mess was our fault (except insofar as we underestimated their ingrained blood-lust). Phew!
Bush was in fine form. Since his first debate with Al Gore in 2000, he's been a master of low expectations, and he showed his prowess at the art once more …
This new strategy will not yield an immediate end to suicide bombings, assassinations or I.E.D. attacks. Our enemies in Iraq will make every effort to ensure that our television screens are filled with images of death and suffering. Yet over time, we can expect to see Iraqi troops chasing down murderers, fewer brazen acts of terror, and growing trust and cooperation from Baghdad's residents.
Let me be clear: The terrorists and insurgents in Iraq are without conscience, and they will make the year ahead bloody and violent. Even if our new strategy works exactly as planned, deadly acts of violence will continue, and we must expect more Iraqi and American casualties.
Victory will not look like the ones our fathers and grandfathers achieved. There will be no surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship.
See, "victory" -- "even if our new strategy works exactly as planned" -- will look very much like bloody failure. Almost indistinguishable from bloody failure, in fact, except to Bush's fellow wingnuts, whose super-secret victory glasses (you can send in three proofs of purchase from the back of the National Review and get your own pair!) will allow them to glean the soft, nougatty center of good news in the nutty picture of abject disaster painted by the treasonous Em-Es-Em.
On a serious note, I don't think anybody believes this new scheme has a snowball's chance in Hell of working. It is a brilliant distraction -- a delay-of-game tactic that's successfully shifted the discussion away from how to get ourselves out of Iraq sooner rather than later.
And note the timing: the troop build-up will be completed by the beginning of May, and DoD officials said last week that they were preparing for it to last 18 months. Add 18 months to May, and that brings us to Election Day 2008. Then it'll be some other sucker's problem.
We go forward with trust that the Author of Liberty will guide us through these trying hours. Thank you and good night.
And thank you for the fine presidentin'!
Joshua Holland is a staff writer at Alternet and a regular contributor to The Gadflyer.