News Our Long National Nightmare
posted by January 10 at 18:49 PMon
Just finished watching Bush’s speech announcing his “new” strategy with my favorite Pundit, former Stranger news weirdo, Sandeep Kaushik. Blame this drunken, self-loathing “analysis” on him.
Really, Bush didn’t announce anything new. He’s staying the course with a few more troops… 20,000 exactly. It’s going to fail miserably. Let’s be rude enough to state the obvious: as Bob Shrum (of all people) said a few months ago, “the Iraq war is over, except for the killing.”
Everyone had their scripted roles: Bush played Churchill, the Democrats played the loyal opposition, the press acted portentious, as if this was some kind of truly momentous turning point, the protesters outside the White House screamed as if their hoarse shouts made any difference. The only thing interesting about the whole ritualized charade was what Bush did not say.
He did not say “Sadr”—though he hinted that we would soon be fighting house-to-house in the endless slums of Sadr City. He did not say “escalation,” or even “surge.” Our commitment, apparently, is open-ended. He did not say, as was expected, that the US would invest $1 billion in a new jobs program to pacify angry Iraqis. He did not say “Democrats”—though he denounced “pessimists.”
Most importantly, he also didn’t announce any tangible benchmarks to measure—at some point—the success of his plan.
If the Democrats were smart, they’d make a lot of noise (as they did after the speech, kind of) that Bush has it backwards, and if we want to empower the Iraqis, we need to split. But rather than standing him down, they should let him go ahead and allow the charade play out according to script: The Democrats pass a non-binding resolution, going on record as “pessimists”—but then allow Bush’s own on-record strategy to backfire.
Tonight was a hail Mary from Bush. Let him throw it. And let all the GOP candidates drop it.