Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Bush vs. reality

President Bush's speech on Iraq was completely divorced from reality. He failed miserably in addressing the reasons for war, poor planning for its aftermath, and how to get America out. He's tapdancing on the edge of a quagmire.

Bush made five references to September 11th; he talked Iraq as part of the "War on Terror"; and he used the words "terror", ""terrorism", "terrorist", or "terrorists" 34 times. But Saddam Hussein wasn't involved in 9/11, and neither were any other Iraqis. Al Qaeda wasn't active in Iraq before we invaded because Hussein didn't allow it. All of the terrorism in Iraq now is a consequence of our involvement. So when Bush talks about "our mission" in Iraq, he's talking about spending American lives and money to fix a foul-up he created.

He doesn't discuss how his rush to war led to America going in with:
  • too few allies
  • too few troops to maintain peace
  • too little equipment for the troops.
He claims we're making progress in Iraq, but many things are worse, worse than they were a year ago and worse than they were before the invasion. Sure, they've had elections, but compared to either one year ago or before the war:
  • Fewer Iraqis have access to fresh water.
  • Iraqi infant mortality is higher.
  • More Iraqis are being killed.
  • More Americans are dying.
Worst of all, Bush has no serious plan for getting out. He'll bring the troops home when there is a stable society in Iraq. But he hasn't committed the resources to build such a society; we don't have enough to build society by ourselves; and Bush has so alienated the international community that we won't get help from outside. So unless Iraq magically fixes itself, Bush has no plan to extricate America. Meanwhile, U.S. military recruitment and retention is so far down that the current catchphrase is "broken army".

Bush actually harmed his case with this speech. The only people it will convince are the blindest believers. Everyone else will be appalled by the fog of irrelevance. Rather than talking about progress and victory in Iraq, Bush would have been better off talking about something plausible, like


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