Wednesday, November 30, 2005

There's just no 'there' there...

From what I've been able to read of Bush's "major policy speech" today, it seemed to be a more detailed speech than Bush has given in the past - but he still completely failed to describe exactly what the strategy was, or exactly what victory means (looks like). From the speech:

The terrorists have made it clear that Iraq is the central front in their war against humanity. And so we must recognize Iraq as the central front in the war on terror.
Iraq was not the central front of the war on terror until our invasion and occupation. This is a straw-man that Bush and his admin constantly leans on - but it is merely a problem of their own creation.

Against this adversary there is only one effective response: We will never back down, we will never give in, and we will never accept anything less than complete victory.
What is complete victory against terrorism? Does anyone have any clue? Bush obviously doesn't. This is a tired line which is nothing more than an excuse for an unending war.

Most Americans want two things in Iraq: They want to see our troops win and they want to see our troops come home as soon as possible. And those are my goals as well. I will settle for nothing less than complete victory.

But he refuses to say what victory is - what is it that signals that we can get out?

Victory will come when the terrorists and Saddamists can no longer threaten Iraq's democracy, when the Iraqi security forces can provide for the safety of their own citizens, and when Iraq is not a safe haven for terrorists to plot new attacks on our nation.

What does that mean? The terrorists weren't there until Bush invited them in by invading Iraq, knocking out a stable (although evil) government. This (as noted above) is a red-herring argument specifically designed to make sure that we don't have to leave - there is no plan for how to leave.

In addition today, the White House put out a booklet called "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq." This was to be the detail - the meat - behind Bush's speech today. It sets out eight "strategic pillars."

1. Defeat the terrorists and neutralize the insurgency.

Absolute straw man and shockingly arrogant that they would put this as a first "pillar" for their strategy in Iraq - there were no terrorists nor insurgency until we invaded.

2. Help Iraq’s security forces become self-reliant.

A valid point. Of course, this clearly was not part of the original strategy, because the Admin though that Iraq would welcome us as occupiers with "parades and roses." But still Bush does not outline a plan - specifically a timeline - of how to actually DO this.

3. Help Iraqis forge a national compact for democratic government.

What does this mean? How long does this take? They have a constitution now, does that mean this prong is complete - or not?

4. Help Iraq build government capacity and provide essential services.

Again, what does this mean? How long does it take? Does this mean that we run their welfare systems - utilities - postal services - military? How much "government capacity" = victory?

5. Help Iraq strengthen its economy.

The last four "pillars" have all started with "Help..." - how does that define a victory? What is the definition of a strong economy? Who decides? How long does this take? Does this mean that they have a roaring stock market and suburban housing bubble - or simply that the lights get to stay on 24 hours?

6. Help Iraq strengthen the rule of law and promote civil rights.

More help. So, we are somehow going to define our "victory" by the promotion of civil rights...anyone think this was an original part of the US strategy for Iraq? I'm betting not. Again - this is a totally undefined, hazy, illigitimate excuse to stay in Iraq as long as you want to, have to, etc.

7. Increase international support for Iraq.

This is a great idea. I've been harping on international involvement for years - going back to pre-invasion. Of course, again, this clearly was never a true part of the strategy for invasion and occupation - it's just a toss in now to sound nice. In addition - how in the world do we use this as a guage of "victory?" How much "international support" = victory? Totally undefined.

8. Strengthen public understanding of U.S.-led coalition efforts and public isolation of the insurgents.

Because I guess the whole parades and roses strategy didn't work out so well.

The Bush Admin is simply demonstrating their lack of a plan - lack of a plan for how to manage after the initial invasion; lack of a plan for the long-term occupation; and a lack of a plan for how to actually get out. Bush refuses to acknowledge that he has made collosal mistakes of judgment - and to cover up those mistakes, he's stubbornly "staying the course" although he and his administration have no idea what that course is.

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