Wednesday, May 2, 2007

His lips were moving, so...

Yesterday, Congress passed an emergency supplemental spending bill to continue funding the occupation of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan. The billion-dollar appropriation to continue the war included a hard date in October to begin pulling out troops from Iraq. The rest of the withdrawal was to be phased, with those phases keyed to benchmarks for the Iraqi government (such as it is).

Exactly four years after declaring "mission accomplished" in full flightsuit/codpiece regalia, Bush refused to offer a horizon for this never-ending journey. For just the second time in his two-term Presidency, Bush pulled out the veto pen. (The only other veto was to block American science and medicine from exploring, with the rest of the civilized world, stem-cell research.) In doing so, he uttered two of the more blatant hypocrisies in a career rife with them. (There were more, of course, but these two stuck out.)
First, "It makes no sense to tell the enemy when you plan to start withdrawing. All the terrorists would have to do is mark their calendars and gather their strength and begin plotting how to overthrow the government and take control of the country of Iraq."
Factually untrue, of course, since the pullout proceeds only as the Iraqi government meets various goals. Only once a given goal is met would we know when a certain draw-down would occur. But that's not hypocrisy in itself -- just misleading. What makes it hypocritical is this:

On April 20 of this year, W defended the surge in a speech before a group of high school kids and an international affairs civic group.
Like a general outlining his battle plan, the president delivered a step-by-step analysis of the conflict in Baghdad, Anbar Province and the outskirts of Baghdad. He began with a map that used red triangles to pinpoint the location of joint security stations, posts in Baghdad where American and Iraqi forces are supposed to work to root out terrorists.
What's the difference between saying "we might leave, eventually, sometime in the future but not before next year," and saying, "see these little triangles? Well, that's exactly where our troops are." Here's a hint: one gets troops killed. Rightnow.

Here's the other biggie: Bush said, "members of the House and the Senate passed a bill that substitutes the opinions of politicians for the judgment of our military commanders." The phrase "cognitive dissonance" has lost its meaning. (Hey, first they killed satire. It was only a matter of time.)

Substituting the requirements of politics for the judgement of the military is Bush's stock-in-trade. From the moment Powell took his cooked intelligence before the UN, through the forced resignations of tens of his leading generals and the merry-go-round that is the seat on which Petraeus now sits, forcing the military (and every branch of the civil service as well) to ignore reality and toe his line is W's only legacy. But don't take my word for it.
Dear Mr. President,

Today, in your veto message regarding the bipartisan legislation just passed on Operation Iraqi Freedom, you asserted that you so decided because you listen to your commanders on the ground.

Respectfully, as your former commander on the ground, your administration did not listen to our best advice. In fact, a number of my fellow Generals were forced out of their jobs, because they did not tell you what you wanted to hear -- most notably General Eric Shinseki, whose foresight regarding troop levels was advice you rejected, at our troops' peril.

Those are the opening lines of an open letter from Major General Paul D. Eaton, USA, Retired. Click, read, and be edified. You've got to hand it to Bush, though. He's getting a lot better at letting this bullshit trip lightly from his tongue. His conscience hasn't improved, but I'd say his diction is getting a little better.

It'd be enough to boggle the mind, but after six years of this crap, my boggle is broken.


S. R. said...

What now? I'm definitely not the first to say this, but Bush will just wait it out in Iraq and dump this debaucle onto the next president in a year-and-a-half. said...

It's up to us to keep the heat turned up on our members of Congress and to keep posting on this...if he wins out, it'll be a travesty of justice. Great post Jim! You hit on a number of things that the public is most likely not hearing enough in the MSM.

These presidential primaries are pissing me off big time...screw all of them, every single one of them. I could care less. The damned thing isn't even close to crunch time, and all it's doing is serving up a welcomed distraction for all those who'd really prefer one in lieu of realty.