Monday, October 23, 2006

Let there be more lies

By Michael J.W. Stickings

And the lying continues.

Following right on his boss's heels, White House Counselor (mouthpiece) Dan Bartlett today denied that there was ever a "stay-the-course strategy" in Iraq.

Think Progress has the video, the transcript, and a lot of rather damning evidence. Again and again and again, Bush and those who speak for him, like Press Secretary Tony Snow, have stated that U.S. policy is to "stay the course".

As late as August 30 of this year -- that is, less than two months ago -- Bush said this, to applause: "Iraq is the central front in this war on terror. If we leave the streets of Baghdad before the job is done, we will have to face the terrorists in our own cities. We will stay the course, we will help this young Iraqi democracy succeed, and victory in Iraq will be a major ideological triumph in the struggle of the 21st century."

There is so much wrong with that statement.

-- Iraq is only "the central front" because Bush's misadventure has made it so. What of the other fronts against an enemy that simply cannot be fought in such old-fashioned terms? They have been forgotten, and ignored.

-- Pulling out of Iraq does not mean that "the terrorists" will come to "our own cities". They came on 9/11 to "our cities," and they may yet come again. If they come because of Iraq, it will only be because the war has strengthened them and bolstered their cause.

-- The war the U.S. should be fighting isn't in Iraq, which is rapidly descending ever further into chaos. Rather, it should be fighting a war all over the world with its allies against the far more nebulous enemy that was behind 9/11 and other attacks like it, an enemy that cannot be pinned down to a single state like Iraq.

-- The Iraqis just want the U.S. out. The terrorists who orchestrated 9/11, and those like them, are waging a broader war against America's very existence. With exceptions like Zarqawi and his kind, the insurgents in Iraq are not those terrorists. Some are, to be sure, and some have been drawn by the opportunity to fight against what is seen as a U.S. occupying force. But what of the terrorists everywhere else? And what of the terrorists in Iraq who will eventually go elsewhere? The war will not put an end to their aspirations.

-- Victory in Iraq will not be an ideological triumph. In the long-term, liberal democracy may yet take root there. But the Iraqis are fighting for self-determination, not necessarily for an ideology, and certainly not for Bush's ideology. Besides, what would constitute victory? Peace? Yes, but at what cost? Self-government? Yes, but to what extent? And is that even possible given the violent sectarianism that has risen out of the ashes of Saddam's regime?

And, of course, there's that reference to staying the course. Not that that's ever been the strategy. Of course not. Bush would never have said anything like that.

Surely the President of the United States isn't the blatant liar he would appear to be.

Oh, forget it. He's a liar. And we have the evidence to prove it.

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