Thursday, June 16, 2005

Can't Anyone Here Play This Game?

Today, as six more U.S. troops were killed in Iraq, White House spokesman Scott McClellan was asked about a potential timetable for withdrawal of forces. Repeating what's become a mantra, he said, "This message would say to the terrorists: 'All you have to do is wait until that day when our troops leave and then you can start carrying out those attacks and just hold out.'" He said it today, he was saying it a year ago, and he'll be saying it a year from now.

This is fascinating as well as preposterous on several levels. First, note that this administration (and perhaps more distressingly, its media apologists and shills) continues to phase out the word "insurgents" in favor of "terrorists" at every opportunity. Not a lot of mystery about the choice of words there, eh? Any clear-thinking person needs to recognize this for what it is and reject it. If you think there is any possibility we'll be leaving Iraq at some point, what convinced you that we would withdraw when "terrorists" are involved? See how this is going to work?

And in terms of telling the insurgents "all you have to do is wait", exactly what does the following tell them? From the AP:
U.S. and Iraqi officials are considering difficult-to-swallow ideas — including amnesties for their enemies — as they look for ways to end the country’s rampant insurgency and isolate extremists wanting to start a civil war.

Negotiations have just begun between U.S. and Iraqi officials on drafting an amnesty policy, which would reach out to Iraqi militants fighting U.S. forces, say officials in both the Iraqi and American governments.
Let me get this straight. We're worried that setting a timetable for withdrawal would send a message of weakness. But we have no problem telling them exactly how desperate we are by openly considering an amnesty for those who've killed American troops or civilians (since obviously there's no practical way for an amnesty program to delineate between those who have done so and those who have not). As an aside, if the insurgency is in its "last throes" as Cheney just claimed, why we are considering an amnesty? Do we even need to ask that question?

And one more point. If what one of our senior military leaders on the ground in Iraq says is true, why are we tipping our weak hand by openly contemplating an amnesty?
A senior US military chief has admitted "good, honest" Iraqis are fighting American forces.

Major General Joseph Taluto said he could understand why some ordinary people would take up arms against the US military because "they're offended by our presence".

In an interview with Gulf News, he said: "If a good, honest person feels having all these Humvees driving on the road, having us moving people out of the way, having us patrol the streets, having car bombs going off, you can understand how they could [want to fight us]."
Do we think that inside of every one of those "good, honest" Iraqis resisting an occupation is a peaceful, passive citizen just waiting for the chance to lay down his weapon in an amnesty? Are we that delusional?

It's difficult to characterize these contradictions, word games, simple-minded approaches, and confusion about the nature of what and whom we're fighting as anything less than extremely distressing.

30 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good points. Are we that delusional? Yes, some are.

I think it is long past time that we acknowledge that we are in a guerrilla war, even if Rumsfeld doesn't like to admit it. Who is fighting us and how do we define success at which time we would leave?
I think car bombs in Iraq will unfortunately be a probability for the foreseeable future. We let this administration take us into Iraq with little debate and no discussion of an exit plan. Shame on us.

Bush has already declared "major combat operations over in Iraq".
But Bush has also declared perpetual war, and Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, rolled over. Just as the 19 men who flew into buildings never wanted to learn how to land because they didn't need it, Bush didn't want to learn about an exit strategy because he doesn't need it. We don't plan on leaving the middle east because of economic interest (i.e., oil) and the war will never be over according to Bush. He can't set an exit strategy because there is none and he is too afraid to be truthful to the American people. His power over the people is in his lies. I guess I am surprised that people are finally waking up to this now.

PS: Have you been reading about Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who sits on the defense appropriations subcommittee, and sold his house at an inflated price (over $700k) to a defense contractor and also lives in Washington on a yacht owned by this same contractor. The contractor has gotten some sweet defense contracts. Talk about war profiteering and "pay to play".

6/16/2005 11:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plans were drawn to go to war well before Bush was even selected to become President. The aim 1) was to occupy Iraq for its wealth of oil, and 2) a revenge for George Bush Sr. attempted killing by Saddam.

The evolution of the plan is manifested by the private and secret accord with Blair which the Downing Street minutes as well as the "cabinet Office Document" demonstrates. In those documents there was no plan for an exit, surely because the intention was that the the US troops would be welcomed with flowers, candies, danse and music and Iraq would have become eventually the property of the USA.

Elections held in January 2005, were never contemplated; but at the request and insistence of the Shiite supreme cleric, the Bush administration agreed. Thus, the engagement that the US troops faced with the insurgents (terrorists) came as a disappointment in the whole plan. The abandonment of the word Insurgents, by the Bush administration now, to favor the terrorist label, is simply to intensify the fear in the american people that the reign of terror is very much with us,because the polls show that Bush is losing ground in the war in Iraq.

So what we see now, Afghanistan is in turmoil, Bush is criticizing China on several issues, then he is jumping to threatening Syria, North Korea is still on the back burner and would not make a pronouncement on the situation with them. The last of all Bush is now meddling with Iran and even before the elections in Iran take place, he is protesting that they are illegal.

I think he is trying to jump from one into another theme so at least the MSM can divert what was an unsuccessful
try of the day with another. On the domestic front, Bush is engaging again on Social Security, the medicare issue is back on the front burner, and he is still unhappy with the Bolton's undecided confirmation. All this translates in
trying to grasp on any successful issue vis a vis the public and regain his foothold.

It remains to be seen what would be the outcome of Rep.John Conyers hearings and the 559.000 signatures from the American people which were delivered together with a letter to Bush for an explanation of the Downing Street Minutes and Memo.

The amnesty issue is a distraction and you are right, it does not make sense to threaten on one hand and on the other be conciliatory.

He has got a lot on his late.

6/17/2005 3:27 AM  
Anonymous DPB said...

Perhaps Bush's imminent downfall will give us all, Republican party included, a chance to redeem ourselves, in the eyes of the world, our fellow citizens, and in the hearts of our children.

We've committed a horrible, unthinkable crime in our premeditated attack on a virtually defenseless country. Perhaps by repudiating Bush's policies and decisions, even belatedly, we can begin to regain our common sense as a nation and rebuild our standing in the world.

6/17/2005 3:42 AM  
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6/17/2005 7:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If you think there is any possibility we'll be leaving Iraq at some point, what convinced you that we would withdraw when "terrorists" are involved? See how this is going to work?"

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6/17/2005 8:52 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Great post and great comments, especially, 'Just as the 19 men who flew into buildings never wanted to learn how to land because they didn't need it, Bush didn't want to learn about an exit strategy because he doesn't need it.'

Very interesting parallel.

6/17/2005 12:57 PM  
Anonymous semper fubar said...

Perhaps by repudiating Bush's policies and decisions, even belatedly, we can begin to regain our common sense as a nation and rebuild our standing in the world.

Absolutely. Let's begin now.

I'll even contemplate forgiving all the morons who voted for Bush if they would help impeach him now. Without some patriotic republicans joining in, we're going to have a tough time bringing Bush to account for his crimes. The media isn't going to help us with this, this time around. They are at best an accessory to the crime.

And regarding the situation in Iraq, if the idiots running this country can't learn the lessons from Vietnam, can't they at least watch "The Battle of Algiers?" Yeeesh. It would be a start anyway.

6/17/2005 3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just watched a replay of the informal basement hearings on the Downing Street Minutes. Two things hit me; 1) of all the senseless killing - the most senseless were the soldiers who were died while searching for the WMD that everybody calling the shots KNEW DID NOT EXIST. 2) The cowardly president is responsible for these deaths, but will shield himself by false witness. Yes, they died bravely, but Bush is too much of a coward to face us honestly.

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