Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Adding to quality of life


Media Matters points out that while Bush in his immigration speech this week claimed that the decrease in arrests of illegal border-crossers proved that his policies have been effective – “When you’re apprehending fewer people, it means fewer are trying to come across” – in a November 2005 speech he cited increased arrests as proof of his policies’ effectiveness.

If you’re wondering, yes, if arrests neither increased nor decreased, that would also show that his policies were working.

Secretary of War Robert
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and the always alliterative Peter Pace held a press conference about extending deployments from their current 12 months to 15 months, effective immediately. Gates explained that this policy would “give greater clarity and fairness.” Assuming your idea of clarity and fairness is to be stuck an additional 3 months in Iraq or Afghanistan while hostile locals shoot clearly and fairly at your ass. Pace says that the increased length of combat will also increase quality of... quality of... quality of what now? “[T]hey will have a predictable life; that they can sit there around the dinner table and know that on calendar month so- and-so, daddy’s going to leave, and on calendar month so-and-so, mommy’s going to come home, and those kinds of things, which add to quality of life.”

And yes, that’s assuming mommy doesn’t come home a little bit earlier in a body bag. And that the Pentagon doesn’t change its mind again, as Gates pointed out with clarity and fairness: “That does not mean that something could not happen tomorrow that would cause our nation to need more of our armed forces to go do something different.”

Maverick John “Maverick” McCain the Maverick gave a speech about Iraq at the Virginia Military Institute today (Note: link is to the prepared remarks). He said of his trip to Baghdad, “Unlike the veterans here today, I risked nothing more threatening than a hostile press corps.” That explains the body armor and military escort: he was afraid of an attack by Helen Thomas. Well, fair enough.

He tried to portray himself as a realist about Iraq. He distanced himself from “false optimism,” saying that he preferred to offer “ersatz optimism.” Okay, he didn’t. He said, “I took issue with statements characterizing the insurgency as a few ‘dead-enders’ or being in its ‘last throes.’” Sure you did, John.

You’ll notice he’s willing to criticize the false optimism of Rumsfeld or Cheney but not that of Bush.


Much of the speech was spent impugning the motives of politicians who oppose the war for seeking “the expediency of easy but empty answers,” “the allure of political advantage,” and “the temporary favor of the latest public opinion poll,” and for engaging in “fanciful and self-interested debates” and “giddy anticipation of the next election.” Someone needs to ask him if it’s only Democratic politicians who are being base and cynical, or if that also applies to the majority of Americans who oppose the war. “Before I left for Iraq, I watched with regret as the House of Representatives voted to deny our troops the support necessary to carry out their new mission. Democratic leaders smiled and cheered as the last votes were counted. What were they celebrating? Defeat? Surrender? In Iraq, only our enemies were cheering.”

He did say one thing that I entirely agree with: “If fighting these people and preventing the export of their brand of radicalism and terror is not intrinsic to the national security and most cherished values of the United States, I don’t know what is.” I agree: you don’t know what is.

Bad Reporter.

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