January 10, 2007

New Bush Plan in Iraq: Bigger Shovel

Bush announced tonight his new plan for Iraq. Just as described by the media leading up to tonight, his plan is simply to send 20,000 more troops in a 'surge' to attempt to quell the violence in Baghdad and other regions of the country.

While I expected nothing less from his naive and out-of-touch mind, I thought the overall plan would include a little more strategy than simply sending forth more American young people, I was not so lucky. Bush stated:

Our troops will have a well-defined mission, to help Iraqis clear and secure neighbourhoods, to help them protect the local population, and to help ensure that the Iraqi forces left behind are capable of providing the security that Baghdad needs"

Call me crazy, but I thought that was what were already doing. I thought all along that U.S. forces were being deployed for the purpose of protecting Iraqi civilians from insurgents. Bush is failing to recognize that such a strategy, defined so broadly, isn't enough. U.S. forces have been using the same tactics since day 1, and that was back in 2003. This is the strategy that dug the United States into the hole that it is in. Mr. Bush: when you're in a deep hole, a bigger shovel isn't going to help you get back out.

After all of the hoopla last year about new Iraqi strategy, and the multiple reports explaining the situation (not the least of which, the Baker-Hamilton plan), this is what we get. Sounds to me like Bush just didn't want to do the reading, and instead just did what made sense to him and him alone. After all of the work that was done developing a strategy, after all the analysis of what's happening on the ground, after all the consideration of diplomatic strategy, increasing Iraqi troop levels and criticism of Iraqi leadership, the best we can get is a 'surge'. It's as if the only message he understood from any of the reports was "Failure = Bad". For something so bad, he's damn good at it.

As if the situation isn't bad enough, Bush claimed that Al Qaeda is attempting to seize control of the Anbar province of Iraq. We know Al Qaeda wasn't in Iraq before the war, and we know that there has been a flood of jihadists moving into the area since, and now they're going so far as to take over a province? What the hell? Didn't this whole operation begin as a 'war against terror'? So not only is the U.S. apparently not winning that war, the terrorists are actually gaining ground? I certainly hope not. I'm going to call Bush's bluff on this one, and I hope I'm right. He and his cronies need to incite Americans to back his stale war, and they turn to the only words that many of us would respond to. There were ten mentions of al Qaeda in his speech, and one mention of September 11... just in case we forgot.

I'm tired of his 'whatever it takes' for 'victory' attitude. The man knows no limits, nor understands the reality in which we live. No American would say they want anything but victory in Iraq. Nobody wants to lose, and we are all in debt to those who have been lost. However, our definition of victory needs to change. The day will never come when Muhammad Jefferson, Jihad Madison and Osama Franklin will quill a constitution and bill of rights that will provide for the freedom of Iraqis the same way we have those freedoms in the U.S. That outcome was never an option, and anyone who thought otherwise is completely out of sync with the middle east, and really the world as a whole. The Bush administration needs to find what they believe to be an acceptable level of success and make progress to get out of Iraq and let the original objectives go. It's not worth it anymore. It's not as easy as you thought it would be, and it's not going to get easier. The beehive has been thoroughly shaken, and an extra baseball bat or two isn't going to put the bees back in the nest.

Even the generals are criticizing this whole 'surge' plan. Normally, generals are the most trigger happy of all government staff, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to utilize new weapons systems and demonstrate America's military might. When the generals get hesitant, you know there's a problem. Bush acts as if he's doing the generals a favor by giving them 'what they want'- he's insisted for some time now 'if they want more troops, they get more troops. if they want less troops, they get that'. Ceding too much authority to the military top brass is worrisome on its own. No general, corporal, admiral or lieutenant is an elected official- meaning there is no political recourse for citizens, nor is there a lawful obligation to serve the people... Only indirect obligation and recourse via the elected President, aka Commander-in-Chief. Fortunately, what those generals want now is strangely nonparallel to Bush's strategy

The most frustrating part of the whole scenario is the hopelessness I feel about the whole situation. It doesn't seem like there's anything you or I can do to slow down this boat ride down the river Styx. Even Congress has its hands tied on the whole thing. They can't directly stop the deployment of more troops- and if they decide not to fund the operation, they look like they're the ones putting U.S. forces in danger.

Just as Bush foresaw back in October, it very well may turn into just him, Laura, and Barney believing in the Iraq mission. And Barney was recently seen humping someone else's leg.

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