Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Now their argument seems to be security is better, so the surge has failed

Today Bush gave another speech about the Iraq (as I am now calling it) to the annual convention of the American Legion (by my count his third Iraq speech to an American Legion audience this year alone). Evidently he thinks it’s important to win the war there. Who knew?

According to him, no one in the US ever gave a moment’s thought to the Middle East before 9/11: “On September the 11th, 2001, we learned that there’s another region of the world that directly threatens the security of the American people -- and that is the Middle East.” Before then, it was all benign neglect: “For too long, the world was content to ignore forms of government in this region -- in the name of stability.” Actually, we sold guns to the region, propped up its dictators, supported Israel in its every act, sent in the Marines, and conducted covert operations against its few democratically elected leaders. We were far, very far indeed, from “ignoring” forms of government in the Middle East.

He threatened Iran several times. “I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran’s murderous activities.” Confront. By the way, I’ve been meaning to suggest that the talk about declaring the Republican Guards a terrorist organization was intended to pave the way for not according them Geneva Conventions status.

“Iran’s active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust.” I assume the word “holocaust” is his way of alluding to Israel without actually using the word.

“Our allies in the region would be under greater siege by the enemies of freedom.” Greater siege?

“[Terrorist] operations seek to create images of chaos and carnage to break the will of the American people.” Technically they seek to create actual, you know, chaos and carnage. And why is “the will of the American people” always defined in terms of a will to kick some ass? According to the opinion polls, the actual will of the American people is to withdraw from Iraq.

He accused members of Congress: “some who had complained about a lack of security in Iraq are now attempting to change the terms of the debate. Their argument used to be that security was bad, so the surge has failed. Now their argument seems to be security is better, so the surge has failed.” Who exactly is saying this? I want names.

He went on, “They disregard the political advances on the local level, and instead change -- charge that the slow pace of legislative progress on the national level proves our strategy has not worked. This argument gets it backwards. Improving security is the precondition for making gains in other areas.” Notice how, just three sentences after accusing D’s of trying to change the terms of the debate, he himself changes the measure of success from the old “benchmarks” to “reconciliation from the bottom up,” a talking point he introduced only a few weeks ago. And he accused them of looking for “excuses for abandoning” “our Iraqi allies”. Because everyone is intellectually dishonest except him.

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