Friday, December 08, 2006

The Downward Spiral: Bush Stayin' the Course

After everything that's happened since the fall of Baghdad, since Bremer and Bush's CPA in Iraq disbanded the Army and presided over the dismantaling of order and a state monopoly over violence, and the ensuing grinding, bloody decline, Bush still doesn't get it. He still actually believes he's winning and that he will be vindicated by History as some great man, too "enlightened" for his time. The greatest spinner, the man of stock talking points, who's taken America to it's lowest stature in foreign policy in decades, well... on his desk the buck never stops. (see dmsilev's diary for more). Why else is loyalty so built into the system? In the upper echelons of the Bush court, le e'stat, c'est Bush. The state must be defended and protected against all slanders, and can never be wrong, lest the people ask too many questions. And even after the ISG came out, the whole edifice still exists in denial. Maybe Bob "we're not winning" Gates, our new Sec Def, can change some things. Bush is still spouting the same garbage, though. Take a look.

The most striking demonstration that Bush remains totally in denial was his choice of language to respond to the two British reporters. To Nick Robinson, he says "it's bad in Iraq. Does that help?" But the remainder of his long response never says things are going bad, or are regressing, or falling apart. Instead, he just says that it is "tough." Which is the same as saying it's hard (like "it's a hard job being the president"). But how do you deal with toughness? By preservering, by exerting sufficent "will." You don't make massive course corrections because things are falling apart. He says "Make no mistake, I understand how tough it is, sir." But he fails to acknowlege how thoroughly awfully it is and how low its fallen since the bombing of the golden dome mosque.

In response to Neely asking about a change of stragegy, Bush says "I t hought we would succeed quicker than we did, and I am disappointed by the pace of success." It is a denial that Iraq is even failing. Instead, it says that the current stratgey is succeeding, but progress should be faster. As if everything will be fine in Iraq if we stay the course for 10 years, while the original plan called for success in 5 (and we're gettin close to 4 right now).

He should be disappointed by the total absence of success and the rapidly escalating pace of failure. But he still believes that his way leads to "victory" (whatever that is), and that everything would be fine if people accepted his gospel instead of asking why things are so bad. He sees the pace of success as slow but steady, of things getting better, instead of the spreading anarchy that's increased constantly since the fall of Baghdad.

Fun Robert Gates factoid: He twice turned down an offer to work for George Bush the younger (showing remarkable good judgment). The first was when he turned down the offer to head Homeland Security to remain at a (gasp) University. Tom Ridge got to preside over that burecratic horror (color code man), and now its the walking corpse Chertoff (heckuva job). He next declined the new Director of National Intelligence post, and instead John "intel czar" Negroponte took up the job. Gates, now Dean, explained his choice in an email to the students by saying he "had nothing to look forward to in D.C. and plenty to look forward to at A&M." I wonder, has he even talked with Bush about Iraq?

Fun Fact #2 (also from wikipedia): In January 2004, Gates co-chaired a Council on Foreign Relations task force on U.S. relations towards Iran. Among the task force's primary recommendation was to directly engage Iran on a diplomatic level regarding Iranian nuclear technology. Key points included a negotiated position that would allow Iran to develop its nuclear program in exchange for a commitment from Iran to use the program only for peaceful means.

Poor man. I'll be impressed if he lasts a few months in the bizzaro politicized world that is the Bush White House.

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