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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Our Long National Nightmare

posted by on January 10 at 18:49 PM


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.

RSS icon Comments


But Victory(TM) is just around the corner!

Six months, tops!

Gawd I love Arianna Huffington:

"Bush is even incompetent at admitting his own incompetence. It's like an alcoholic admitting he's started drinking again, then announcing he plans to get back on the wagon by drinking even more."

Posted by Original Andrew | January 10, 2007 8:07 PM

Josh, are you suggesting we allow more troops to die for a political advantage in 2008? WTF.

Posted by Lame | January 10, 2007 8:12 PM

Let Sandeep have his own say. If Sean Nelson has emeritus slogging rights, then why not Sandeep?

Posted by cesspool | January 10, 2007 8:20 PM

Cut the condescension toward street protesters, would you? They're no more (or less) a part of the "ritualized charade" than bloggers like yourself.

Posted by wf | January 10, 2007 8:38 PM

When you think about the lies which led to Iraq, think also about the lies underlying the current debate on the Viaduct and the Stranger's own shameful role.

Posted by David Sucher | January 10, 2007 8:43 PM

I smell Roveshit. Generate a few weeks of hero footage, then let Iraq go to hell and blame it on the Democrats.

Posted by Derevaun | January 10, 2007 8:56 PM

Its a just a game by the Republicans. If the Democrats go along with it, its the same thing as before, no change. Iraq will fall into civil war and the Democrats will look bad for approving a failed plan.

If they go against it, Iraq will fall into civil war and the Republicans will blame the Democrats come election time. "If we had those extra men, but the Dems say no!"

Posted by Rich | January 10, 2007 9:03 PM

It's not a Hail Mary for Bush because the only thing he has at stake is how badly history will speak of him. Aside from his ego, the guy is set for life, same as he was on the day he was born.

The people who will live or die depending on how poorly the endgame of our Iraq defeat plays out are the ones who need to say a Hail Mary or two. Or Allah Akbar or whatever one says, as the case may be.

Posted by elenchos | January 10, 2007 9:12 PM

My favorite part was "we're going to enlist the support of the political wing of the sectarian violence to help us fight sectarian violence". Because that's what they're going to do. Maliki is a Shiite militia puppet. But he's our only hope.

It is true, as many right wing commentators are pointing out, that the consequences of pulling out of Iraq are guaranteed to be devastatingly bad for the United States. Pulling out now allows Iraq to become the incubator for a series of new 9/11s.

It's also true that staying the course or surging or whatever the fuck is going to be devastatingly bad for the United States. Staying in Iraq now allows Iraq to become the incubator for a series of new 9/11s.

We're fucked either way. Thanks, George. Our future is looking as pinched as the look on your face.

Posted by Fnarf | January 10, 2007 9:12 PM

Bush is going to do this. Face it, we're stuck in Iraq until January of 2009 (or at least as long as Bush is president). He *won't accept* that it's over. He can't. He is too little of a person.

And there really is little that the Democrats in congress can do to stop him. There was a decent slate article today on the four options available, but they all depend on Mr. Signing Statement himself listing to the rule of law. I'm not holding my breath. I still say investigate the fucker. Sink him with his own record until the American public demands he resign or be impeached.

For anyone interested in just how bad things are for us, and how badly Bush really has done, I cannot suggest more strongly to listen to Seymour Hersh's speech at Town Hall via KUOW. Amazingly crisp analysis.

Posted by golob | January 10, 2007 9:36 PM

Here is a link to the Slate article.

The four legal options (in brief):
1. Undo the October 2002 AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force) by explicitly ending it by law or creating a new more restrictive AUMF.

2. Cut off funding for future action in Iraq. Remember, though, the congress cannot cut off current funding, only future.

3. Condition future money on "rules" that Bush must follow.

4. Set a time limit by law for the war. There are some un-tested constitutional rules regarding how quickly and how the executive can respond to this demand.

As I stated above, all of these depend upon Bush agreeing to submit to the rule of law. The man that has wiretapped US citizen's phones on a massive scale, continued to torture prisoners despite explicit laws against this practice, and funded the entire war on an "emergency" basis. Good luck I say.

And remember, this is HIS supreme court, with a hand-picked chief justice. Good luck there too.

Posted by golob | January 10, 2007 9:44 PM

I couldn't even watch it. His entire speech script was "leaked" or whatever days ago, so I knew there wasn't going to be anything new or any surprises. The Dems were already trying to stop it or denounce it even before his speech. So why watch it? Just listening to his voice on the radio makes me cringe. More than about 2 minutes of him, and my blood pressure starts to rise. Watching or listening to him is like some sort of self-abuse. If he were by some miracle able to say anything brilliant, it would be all over the news later (it'll be on the news either way, actually). If he made any of his usual bastardizations of the English language, it'll be on YouTube by morning. Nope, I just couldn't force myself to watch him. I don't need the stress.

Posted by SDA in SEA | January 10, 2007 9:44 PM

I say call his bluff and kill the funding for new troops, new equipment (not personal body armor, but new humvees and jets), and any overseas deployment funds over six months from now.

Any increase in cash has to come from tax cuts for billionaires. Period.

Fact: the longer we stay, the more enemies we make. And the longer until the Iraqis actually deal with their own problems.

Or should I just admit the Iraqis are controlled by Iran.

Way to go, Bushie!

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 10, 2007 9:57 PM

SDA @ #12: i am so totally with you. one minute in, i had to turn it off for all the same reasons you list.

watching the snow fall was far more interesting, peaceful, and beautiful.

Posted by kerri harrop | January 10, 2007 10:08 PM

Ditto on #12 and #14. I tuned into Keith Olbermann to get my much-needed Bush antidote and there Bush was, loathsome as ever. At least Olbermann destroyed him after the blather ended...

Posted by Mr. X | January 10, 2007 10:18 PM

"Some time before he became involved in the Dreyfus Affair, Emile Zola wrote an article called 'The Toad.' It purported to be his advice to a young writer who could not stomach" the current affairs. So "each morning...he bought a toad in the market place, and devoured it live and whole. The toad cost only three sous each, and after such a one could face almost any newspaper with a tranquil stomach."

From: The Time of the Toad by Dalton Trumbo

I'm not sure even a live toad could cure the revulsion caused by dubya.

Posted by gnossos | January 10, 2007 10:32 PM

Yeesh, he gives it all the convinction of a 10th grade social studies report. I was sure he was about to quote Wikipedia there for a second.

Posted by gfish | January 11, 2007 12:00 AM

Actually, the speech was a rehash of mistakes that the Kennedy administration made in Vietnam. In that war Diem consistently said he had a plan to win the war and continuously asked for greater U.S. involvement. Eventually, Diem's forces fire into a crowd of Buddhist monks, which ultimately results in Marshall law followed by a U.S. backed coup to overthrow him. This leads to further U.S. involvement. Learn from your history.

"Few generations in all of history have been granted the role of being the great defender of freedom in its maximum hour of danger. This is our good fortune..."
- John F. Kennedy

"The challenge playing out across the broader Middle East is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time. On one side are those who believe in freedom and moderation."
- George W. Bush

Posted by B.D. | January 11, 2007 7:18 AM

Let's call the whole thing off.

Marshall law? At first I thought you were talking about George Marshall, #10.

We have to thank Joel Chandler Harris who gave us the story of Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby for a good analogy of the mess in Iraq. The Tar Baby is Iraq; George Bush is Brer Rabbit; and the rest of us poor schmucks are Brer Fox - enjoy.

Posted by YOU SAY MARITAL, I SAY MARTIAL | January 11, 2007 3:39 PM

Sorry - #10 - I meant to say #18...

which ultimately results in Marshall law

Posted by YOU SAY MARITAL, I SAY MARTIAL | January 11, 2007 3:41 PM

Martial law. Geesh ... from that gang of draft-avoiding Reds in the Red House? Day the Bush and Cheney kids serve is the day I have a heart attack ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 11, 2007 5:16 PM

Perhaps we should start an "underground railroad" and support networks for troops going AWOL. Those poor fuckers' morale is so low at this point. They don't deserve to die for lies, to say nothing of some 200,000+ Iraqis. grrrrrrrrrr

Posted by treacle | January 12, 2007 12:03 AM

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