Thursday, December 21, 2006

A New Way Backward
by Ed Naha | Dec 21 2006 - 9:06am

One of the most frustrating things a child can hear when a parent gives an order that makes no sense is: "Why? Because I say so. That's why." A savvy kid immediately understands that the parent is clueless and is pulling rank solely because he or she can.

Welcome to Bush's "New Way Forward" in Iraq. With the White House deliberately leaking like a sieve, with each possible new course of action more illogical and unrealistic than the one preceding it, we, the American people, are supposed to consider them viable. Why? Because Bush says so. That's why.

Translated into sophisticated political terminology: "Nyah-nyah-nyah. I know everything, you know nothing."

Bush, officially on a "listening tour" to hear as many strategic war time suggestions as possible, has given the back of his hand to the Iraq Study Group's report, declaring: "I've heard some ideas that would lead to defeat, and I reject those ideas -- ideas such as leaving before the job is done; ideas such as not helping this (the Iraqi) government take the necessary and hard steps to be able to do its job."

So, whom is Bush chatting up in terms of a new "stratigery" on Iraq? Here's a clue provided by Tony Snow at a recent press briefing.

QUESTION: "Is he going to talk with people who differ considerably from his view? Like people who absolutely want to get out of Iraq?"

SNOW: "No, because that does not, in fact, achieve your goal."

So, he's talking to toadies.

Apparently, the Administration's goal is to screw things up even further in Iraq than it has already. No small feat.

Among the ideas "leaked" so far?

A surge of 20,000 to 40,000 American troops, many of them shipped to Baghdad to tamp down the escalating violence there. This would be bigger than the surge of U.S. troops in Baghdad last summer, which failed miserably and actually caused more violence. How long would these new troops remain in Iraq? Three to six months. Or nine months. Or two years. Or ten years. You get the picture.

(Two small glitches. The Iraqi government wants U.S. troops to pull OUT of Baghdad, allowing its own army to take over.

And, according to "The Washington Post," the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff don't like the idea either. Quoting "The Post:" "The Joint Chiefs think the White House, after a month of talks, still does not have a defined mission and is latching on to the surge idea in part because of limited alternatives, despite warnings about the potential disadvantages for the military, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the White House review is not public."

The article went on: "The Pentagon has cautioned that a modest surge could lead to more attacks by al-Qaeda, provide more targets for Sunni insurgents and fuel the jihadist appeal for more foreign fighters to flock to Iraq to attack U.S. troops, the officials said."

Rep. Ike Skelton, the Missouri Dem who'll become chairman of the House Armed Services Committee in January said: "Everything I've heard and everything I know to be true lead me to believe that this increase, at best, won't change a thing. At worst, it could exacerbate the situation even further."

Hey, Ike. Get with the program. We don' need no steenking facts.)

Another spiffy idea is to shift the U.S. military mission in Iraq from combat to training an expanded Iraqi army. Of course, this would exclude the "surge" troops mentioned above whose goal would be to kick some serious insurgent ass. One interesting twist is that many insurgents are already members of the Iraqi police and the Iraqi army. Uh-oh.

Then, there's the forming of a "moderate center" of Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish politicians - an event that will occur shortly after pigs learn to fly or Bush gets a grip.

Oh, yes. Any American solution has to involve money. Right now, BushCo. is thinking of tossing in another $1 billion to combat rampant unemployment among Iraqi youths. This money will buy both good will and a hell of a lot of RPGs and mortars. It will also assure Haliburton one heck of a profitable '07.

Yet another great idea is to engage all of Iraq's neighbors in a new diplomatic initiative; excluding Iran and Syria - because we don't like them. So there!

In essence, the Bush response to the reality on the ground in Iraq is to ignore the reality on the ground.

Recently, Bush has been all over the place, meeting and greeting folks, holding press conferences (Note: Don't forget to shop more, folks.) and playing Commando-in-Chief to the hilt. To the troops, he declared: "I am listening to a lot of advice to develop a strategy to help you succeed, a lot of consultations. I will be delivering my plans after a long deliberation, after steady deliberation. I'm not going to be rushed into making a decision."

Why rush when people are dying every day in an illegal occupation?

To a British reporter who questioned Bush's grasp of the reality in Iraq, Bush quipped: "It's bad in Iraq. That help? (A-heh-heh.)"

To prove to America that we're doing better than is being reported, Bush has decided to bring back enemy body counts. "Our commanders report that the enemy has also suffered. Offensive operations by Iraqi and coalition forces against terrorists and insurgents and death squad leaders have yielded positive results. In the months of October, November, and the first week of December, we have killed or captured nearly 5,900 of the enemy."

Now, for anyone not around during the 'Nam years, the last time our government issued "enemy body counts," they were often, um, suspect. By the time we left Vietnam, I believe we killed 500% of its population.

Plus, if 100 Iraqi bodies are found in Baghdad after a firefight, who are they? Are they insurgents? Victims of sectarian strife? Innocents?

The reason behind the body counts, according to flack Tony Snow, is to get the Iraq public relations element back on track: "There is quite often the impression ... that our people aren't doing anything; they're just targets. And I think there's a certain amount of unease in the American public because they hear about deaths, but they don't hear about what's going on."

No, they hear about deaths, Tony, BECAUSE that's what's going on.

Bush clearly is going deeper into Bizarro World.

Meeting with Democratic leaders, Bush began his talk on Iraq by comparing himself to Harry S. Truman. Said Democratic Majority Whip-elect, Richard Durbin: "He's trying to position himself in history and to justify those who continue to stand by him, saying sometimes if you're right, you're unpopular, and be prepared for criticism."

When Durbin pointed out that, although Truman got bogged down in Korea, he ushered in a new era of diplomacy via NATO and the United Nations and negotiated with his enemies, Bush reminded all that HE was "the commander in chief."

Fellow attendee Senate Majority Leader-elect Harry Reid wasn't overly impressed, either. "He (Bush) is tepid in what he talks about doing. Someone has to get the message to this man that there have to be significant changes."

According to "The New York Daily News'" Thomas M. DeFrank, Bush is convinced he'll be praised by future historians. " 'I'll be dead when they get it right'" he said during an Oval Office meeting.

So, privately, Bush is more interested in his place in history as opposed to human life? (As of this writing 2,954 American troops have given their lives to write this history in blood; 65 in the first 20 days of this month.)

To the world, however, Bush declared: "I repeat: If we lose our nerve, if we're not steadfast in our determination to help the Iraqi government succeed, we will be handing Iraq over to an enemy that would do us harm."

Dude, who's our enemy THIS week?

Even Rummy and Laura Bush jumped into the fantasy fray, with Rummy declaring that, in many areas of Iraq, life was normal. How does he know? He could see that normalcy from his plane. (Those x-ray specks work wonders.)

For her part, Laura blamed the media for the bad press the illegal invasion has garnered. On MSNBC, she declared: "It is not encouraging coverage for sure. There's no doubt about it. But I do know that there are a lot of good things that are happening that aren't covered. And I think that the drum beat in the country from the media, from the only way people know what is happening unless they happened to have a loved one deployed there, is discouraging."

Laura? Rummy? While you're both whistling "Zippity Doo-Dah," why not fly to Iraq in broad daylight, announcing your trip in advance, and take a scenic tour of the land. Drive around in an unarmored, non-military vehicle, also known as a "car." You know, like Iraqis do. That may redefine the word "normal" for you insulated twits.

Bush's reaction to the American public's rejection of his Imperial Iraq expedition as well as the findings of the Baker/Hamilton group has not played all that well outside the Wingnut war cheerleader 'n' pundit crowd. Colin Powell stated, bluntly, that we are losing, caught in a civil war.

Larry Diamond of Stanford University's Hoover Institution, who was among the Iraqi Study Group's expert advisers opined: "If he's going to trash the Iraq Study Group report, he's going to have to come up with something coherent, different and that is demonstrably better. I think he's not likely to persuade the country that he's done so."

So, while Rummy replacement Robert Gates intones: "We simply cannot afford to fail in the Middle East. Failure in Iraq at this juncture would be a calamity that would haunt our nation, impair our credibility (NOTE: We still have credibility???) and endanger Americans for decades to come," let's look at the facts.

The majority of Iraqis want us out. The majority of American citizens want us out. Iraqis have little or no electricity. They have little or no drinking water. American companies contracted for rebuilding Iraq have made little or no progress while pocketing vast sums of money. To sustain this clusterfuck for the next year will require over $97 billion.

The U.S. Army is on the verge of collapse. The U.S. Marines are stretched as thin as a membrane. There is no centralized Iraqi government because Iraq is an artificial country: created by the West and stocked with tribes and sects that have hated each other's guts for centuries. Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence has spiraled out of control. There's no single enemy we're fighting. We're fighting everybody who's not on our payroll.

What to do? Apparently, the prevailing plan is to sing "When You Wish Upon A Star" and go for all or nothing. And, as anyone with three working brain cells left realizes, the results will be nothing...or worse.

In a "People Magazine" interview, Bush reflected on his current time as president, saying: "I must tell you, I'm sleeping a lot better than people would assume."

Junior, you're at the wheel.

You've been asleep for over three years.

Time to wake up.


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