Having realized that whining, smirking and chuckling isn't convincing anyone that he knows of which he speaks, President Bush now has a plan for Iraq:
Facing criticism and impatience about the conflict, Bush went on the offensive with the release of a 35-page plan titled "Our National Strategy for Victory in Iraq."
I don't know about you, but at this point I wonder if the president even read all 35 pages. Okay, I'm being silly -- we all know that staffers wrote this, probably under the guidance of Karl Rove.
The strategy document is full of the same old assertions [in .pdf format], only now they're compiled in a single document -- no doubt so they can point to the document as proof of their assertions.
â€¢ The terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in their war against humanity. And we must recognize Iraq as the central front in our war on terror.
- Osama Bin Laden has declared that the â€œthird world warâ€¦is ragingâ€? in Iraq, and it will end there, in â€œeither victory and glory, or misery and humiliation.â€?
- Bin Ladenâ€™s deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri has declared Iraq to be â€œthe place for the greatest battle,â€? where he hopes to â€œexpel the Americansâ€? and then spread â€œthe jihad wave to the secular countries neighboring Iraq.â€?
- Al Qaida in Iraq, led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has openly declared that â€œwe fight
today in Iraq, and tomorrow in the Land of the Two Holy Places, and after there the
âœ” As the terrorists themselves recognize, the outcome in Iraq â€“ success or failure â€“ is critical to the outcome in the broader war on terrorism.
[emphasis in original]
Again, they're trying to assert that the civil war in Iraq is a foreign operation, instead of a conflict between Iraqis with over 1000 years of historical conflict. How ironic that one of the biggest problems about our Iraq occupation -- that al-Qaeda uses it as a recruitment poster -- is what the Bush Administration crows about as reasons for staying.
The document reads like a division report in a corporate boardroom. It's full of bullet points of declarations and assertions, but little actual argument and essentially no supporting evidence to support their claims. Maybe some paid analysts can take the time to scrutinize the language and find something that's actually new ... or convincing.
The document has an appendix called "The Eight Pillars" which purports to lay out a strategy for success -- a tacit admission that the 28 pages coming before fail to do just that. (I expect the phrase "The Eight Pillars" will be rolling off wingnutter lips over the coming days.)
Right up front is one that is almost ludicrous in content:
Defeat the Terrorists and Neutralize the Insurgency
STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE: Iraq is not a source of terrorists or terrorist resources, and neither terrorists, Saddamists, nor rejectionists are able to prevent Iraqâ€™s political and economic progress. They cannot stop the Iraqi governmentâ€™s development of a constitutional representative democracy, the provision of essential services, a market economy that provides goods, services, and employment for Iraqis, or the free flow of information and ideas.
They go on to assert that the Iraqis fighting US forces are actually foreigners. And they argue that all we need to do is establish peace and stability in order to stop terrorism -- in Iraq. Setting aside the circular logic for a moment, I wonder how we are to stop the ever-increasing and ever-more-bloody violence of the uprisings without establishing the very kind of police state Saddam Hussein had.
These pillars go on and on with other steps that, it seems to me, are more than a few days late and way way way more than a few dollars short.
Why didn't they think of any of this before?
The Bush quote at the end is perhaps most telling:
This enemy considers every retreat of the civilized world as an invitation to greater violence. In Iraq, there is no peace without victory. We will keep our nerve, and we will win that victory.
Then maybe we should focus our "war on terror" efforts on the real terrorists, instead of trying to play favorites in an Iraqi civil war and declaring it a war on terror.
I may not be a warrior (neither is Bush), but it seems to me that it takes more than bravado to win a war. And if war is merely the practice of politics by other means, then this war is steering our politics down the wrong path -- to more bloody massacres, more corruption, more criminality and, in the end, financial ruin.
Just don't expect Bush to realize it, let alone admit it. He has a gift for running things into the ditch. He thinks he's found virtue in that by labeling pig-headed stubbornness as "decisiveness." Three more years of this kind of "leadership" is looking increasingly disastrous. America will survive, but at what cost?