Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The cauldron of chaos at the CENTCOM Coalition Conference

Today Bush went to Florida to address a CENTCOM Coalition Conference, an alliterative event if ever there was one.

Here he is walking to his helicopter.

Waving as he walks to his helicopter.

More waving.

Yes, I’m padding. His speech wasn’t that interesting.

In discussing Iraq, you’d almost think the mission had been accomplished four years ago, since “Our main enemy is al Qaeda and its affiliates.” We seem to be reverting to a simpler time, when Bush didn’t have to talk about Sunnis and Shiites, or know the difference. Or know that they existed.

This was a Coalition of the Willing event, so he had to alter his rhetoric to pretend that he cares about what happens in other countries: “We must defeat the enemy overseas, so we don’t have to face them in our countries.” You’ll note that whoever re-wrote that usually US-centric slogan forgot that some of the COW countries are not actually separated from the enemy by a sea.

The Iraq war is just like another war when there were a bunch of quitters: “During the Cold War, the NATO Alliance worked to liberate nations from communist tyranny, even as allies bickered, and millions marched in the streets against us, and the pundits lost hope.”

“Just as America and our allies are standing together in Afghanistan, a determined coalition is committed to winning the fight in Iraq.” He must love Afghanistan, his forgotten war: no one talks about benchmarks or timetables or exit strategies or even winning. What’s our mission in Afghanistan? Standing together.

The highlight of the speech was the return of my favorite bit of rhetoric, the “cauldron of chaos,” which is what Iraq would turn into if we pulled out of Baghdad. “Our enemy, the enemies of freedom, love chaos. Out of that chaos they could find new safe havens.” Well, safe but chaotic havens, because of the cauldron thing.

These days, he uses Colonel Combover as a human shield for everything. Look how he quotes him saying the exact things Bush has been saying literally for years: “Last week, General Petraeus called al Qaeda ‘probably public enemy number one’ in Iraq. He said that al Qaeda has made Iraq ‘the central front in their global campaign.’” Bush has so little credibility left that if he told Laura the sky is blue, she’d ask if General Petraeus also thinks the sky is blue.

He told the representatives of the COW countries, “Thank you for helping the liberated.”

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