Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The delusion of a president

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Bush in Latvia, from the Times and the Post:

"We'll continue to be flexible and we will make the changes necessary to succeed. But there's one thing I'm not going to do: I'm not going pull the troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete."

Meaning what exactly? Nothing. It's just tough talk. He's open to changing course, but, well, not really. Although I'm sure it all depends on the meanings of "mission" and "complete," and perhaps also "battlefield".

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"We can accept nothing less than victory for our children and our grandchildren."

Define "victory". Seriously. What does it mean now? Or is this also just tough talk with nothing to back it up?

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Iraq is "a sovereign nation which is conducting its own foreign policy".

Um, yeah, sure. How so "sovereign"? In theory?

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It's not civil war: "There's all kinds of speculation about what may or may not be happening. No question, it's tough."

You think?

There isn't any "speculation about what may or may not be happening". We all know, more or less, what's happening. And "tough" isn't the word for it. In fact, "tough" is insulting. What's happening over there is simply brutal: torture, mass murder, grotesque barbarism. What's happening over here is that some people, notably Bush's people, are playing games with words and denying reality. No, no, it's not civil war, just like no, no, it wasn't genocide in Rwanda. Either they're so delusional that they don't really know what's happening or they do know and they're refusing to admit it. Either way, it's not good. Either way, they have no credibility left.

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"There's a lot of sectarian violence taking place, fomented in my opinion because of the attacks by Al Qaeda causing people to seek reprisal."

Wait... what? It's all al Qaeda's fault? If al Qaeda weren't there -- and I'm not quite sure what incarnation of al Qaeda he's talking about -- there wouldn't be any sectarian violence? Or at least only minimal sectarian violence? This is either a gross misunderstanding or a gross misrepresentation of the nature of Iraq's sectarian violence.

And, because I can't quite find the words to explain just how crazy this is, I turn to Josh Marshall: "I really never thought this country could be run for a significant period of time by a president who seems captive of dingbat conspiracy theories and the strategic complexity of a children's bedtime story."

But it has been. And it still is.

Much to America's disgrace.

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