Sunday, December 3, 2006

Trying Desperately Not to ‘Lose’ What is Already Lost

President Bush, and therefore his entire six-year political strategy, has been soundly repudiated in the mid-term elections. Quickly, but long after it might actually have done some good, Donald (heck of a job) Rumsfeld had the rug of presidential support yanked unceremoniously out from under him.


Bushpelosi_1 President Bush, and therefore his entire six-year political strategy, has been soundly repudiated in the mid-term elections. Quickly, but long after it might actually have done some good, Donald (heck of a job) Rumsfeld had the rug of presidential support yanked unceremoniously out from under him. Dick Cheney, prior darling of the talk-shows, is seldom seen. When he is, as at the Pelosi-Reid congratulatory meetings, he looks distracted and disinterested.

Meanwhile

  • Iraq continues to implode, 3,700 civilians killed in November alone, in the war that is not yet being defined as ‘civil.’
  • Lebanon, our democratic ‘beacon’ in the Muslim world, is about to submit to the anarchy and chaos of Hezbollah.
  • Saudi Arabia is trying to keep the monarchy from catching-fire, as Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Iran light matches amidst the explosive fumes of jihad.
  • Israel and Palestine, once willing to talk, are now beyond all practical political engagement; their moment in history demolished by the area conflict.
  • North Korea and Iran, their flight into the fanciful world of nuclear membership ignored and fatally botched (while attention lingered elsewhere), are now intractable foreign-relations disasters.

This president, who never enjoyed a mandate, governed as if he were awarded one. These days he is as lost as his war, a man in the shell-shock of reality, clinging to any possible hope of  avoiding what his arrogance has wrought--loss.  Loss of  pride, of troops, of vindication  legacy.

Bushcheneyrummy_2 Having destroyed the trust of the country, he’s hung his Secretary of Defense out to dry, as if the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld stool had but one leg. A man who long deserved to be relieved, Rumsfeld has instead been shot out of the saddle, without warning--a move as uncharitable as it was cowardly.

Rummy has made public a memo he forwarded to his president two days before getting the unexpected axe. Who can blame him?

The memo concerned itself with limiting political fallout and maintaining deniability, rather than critical of mistakes on his own and Cheney’s watch. A few of the suggestions;

“Announce that whatever new approach the U.S. decides on, the U.S. is doing so on a trial basis. This will give us the ability to readjust and move to another course, if necessary, and therefore not ‘lose.’

Therefore not ‘lose.’
Now there’s a foreign-policy to hang your legacy on.

“Initiate an approach where U.S. forces provide security only for those provinces or cities that openly request U.S. help and that actively cooperate, with the stipulation being that unless they cooperate fully, U.S. forces would leave their province.” Translation: We have brought chaos and disaster to your country and unless you ‘openly request’ our continued help in this disastrous endeavor, we’ll leave you to the wolves.

“Stop rewarding bad behavior, as was done in Fallujah when they pushed in reconstruction funds, and start rewarding good behavior. Put our reconstruction efforts in those parts of Iraq that are behaving, and invest and create havens of opportunity to reward them for their good behavior. As the old saying goes, “If you want more of something, reward it; if you want less of something, penalize it.” No more reconstruction assistance in areas where there is violence.” Let me see if I understand this properly. We brought violence to Iraq, we (and they) destroyed a bunch of things (stuff happens) and now, we won’t reconstruct where there is violence. And that is supposed to end violence. Well, no more fixing things we broke ought to convince insurgents to scurry on home.

Rummy, what planet are you suggesting from?

“Position substantial U.S. forces near the Iranian and Syrian borders to reduce infiltration and, importantly, reduce Iranian influence on the Iraqi Government.” Well, we all know how well that’s worked between Mexico and the United States. And Mexicans only want jobs.

“Withdraw U.S. forces from vulnerable positions — cities, patrolling, etc. — and move U.S. forces to a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) status, operating from within Iraq and Kuwait, to be available when Iraqi security forces need assistance.” Which means choppers. No more roadside bombs, just Stinger missiles and RPGs. Iraqi security forces shouldn’t need assistance more than every 20 or 30 minutes.

“Begin modest withdrawals of U.S. and Coalition forces (start “taking our hand off the bicycle seat”), so Iraqis know they have to pull up their socks, step up and take responsibility for their country.” What is possibly more arrogant than requiring Iraqis to ‘pull up their socks’ after we stripped them of pants, shirts and underwear? These last 3 ½ years are explained as ‘our hand on the bicycle seat?’

“Provide money to key political and religious leaders (as Saddam Hussein did), to get them to help us get through this difficult period.” Even before we hang Saddam, we're recomending his tactics. Now there's a policy worth following. What we have here is not an unmitigated disaster, but a difficult period. How American—if we can’t win their hearts and minds, buy-off their clerics.

“Announce that whatever new approach the U.S. decides on, the U.S. is doing so on a trial basis. This will give us the ability to readjust and move to another course, if necessary, and therefore not “lose.”” There we are with the old ‘not lose’ strategy again. This is what Rumsfeld has American kids dying for.

Since

  • there was no WMD
  • and Iraq was proven not to be a supporter of al-Qaeda
  • since regime-change didn’t make the diapers smell any better
  • and the democracy-transplant is dying of tissue-rejection
  • since “we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators” didn’t quite pan out and “they’re in their last throes” was simply ridiculous

    it’s good to know just why our president is so adamant that we stay in the game—so that he and Cheney and Rummy ‘will not lose.’

These men will pay any price in American (and Iraqi) blood and treasure, ‘not to lose.’

Even though they (and we) have lost.

Here’s a Dick Cheney quotation we should all pay attention to:
“There comes a time when deceit and defiance must be seen for what they are. At that point, a gathering danger must be directly confronted. At that point, we must show that beyond our resolutions is actual resolve.”

Inadvertently, the Vice President of the United States has succinctly expressed the reason why the Bush administration must be brought to justice. Not for partisan reasons, not because they lost control of Newt Gingrich’s Congress, but because deceit and defiance must be seen for what they are. Because the gathering danger has not yet been confronted, does not mean it is too late.
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