[Bush]was encouraged by the prospect of broader political participation in Iraq, but he warned that successful voting will not make the insurgents "give up," and he urged continued "patience" by both Iraqis and Americans. Speaking before the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, Bush took on critics of his Iraq war policy in stark terms, accusing some of them of making "irresponsible charges" against him that he said have been politically motivated and have "hurt the morale of our troops."
PROGRESS remains an illusion. [White House speech transcript] Republicans and Democrats should both think of who “wins” if Bush’s rhetoric remains unchallenged.
(LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE) UPDATE Both are back in a big way, at least as the White House sees it. I see some of the political leaders who are here, and I presume you've invited me to uphold the scholars' end. (Laughter.) . . .. In the war on terror, Iraq is now the central front (NO APPLAUSE) . . . .We will fight this war without wavering -- and we will prevail. (Applause.) . . . we cannot -- and will not -- leave Iraq until victory is achieved. (Applause.)
THE CENTRAL FRONT on the War on Terror was is and will be at Osama bin Laden’s doorstep. Did Bush mention Osama bin Laden? Bush has no problem mentioning September Eleventh as start for his war? Why does he avoid mentioning Osama anywhere near its middle or its end now?
NOBODY NOTICED the restatement of the Bush Doctrine yesterday. Yesterday’s speech on Iraq by George Bush is now being peddled as a place where he admitted “mistakes” and took “spontaneous” questions from the crowd. If you look at what Bush actually said, another narrative is apparent. A certain pattern now reveals itself in the staging of the four speeches Bush is giving on Iraq before the elections there this Thursday. The backdrop for the speeches is at least as important as the “message.” Some mistakes have been made here.
STYLE AND SUBSTANCE Bush’s first speech at the Naval Academy stated his broad premise Victory, Victory. Those who doubt this will be attacked. The second at the Council on Foreign Relations disregarded the usual question and answer format following speeches there. And now in his third speech in Philadephia, Bush appears to answer the people with questions, but only after engaging in his usual certain circular logic. Why are we in Iraq?
Yet the terrorists have made it clear that Iraq is the central front in their war against humanity, so we must recognize Iraq is the central front in the war on terror.
BUSH CONTINUES to blur the front of the war on terror and the war in Iraq, even as he admitted in his first speech that the terrorists were the smallest part of opposition to United States policy and presence in Iraq. A new line posed is that Bush admits mistakes in Iraq, most notably by the New York Times Elisabeth Bumiller: In his remarks, Mr. Bush effectively said that the administration had made mistakes in Iraq. This is sleight of hand and slight of analysis. Bumiller writes:
In his remarks, Mr. Bush effectively said that the administration had made mistakes in Iraq. The president recalled, for example, that in the summer of 2003, the United States proposed that the Coalition Provisional Authority, the American administration that governed Iraq after the war, should continue in office while appointed Iraqi leaders drafted a constitution and then held elections to choose a new government. As proposed by the Americans, Iraq would have been sovereign only when the elected government took office. "This plan met with the disapproval of the Iraqis," Mr. Bush said. "They made it clear that they wanted a constitution that was written by elected leaders of a free Iraq, and they wanted sovereignty placed in Iraqi hands sooner. We listened, and we adjusted our approach."
ADJUST THIS The administration has adjusted many things in Iraq, its approach to what was first sold as a cakewalk changing as it creates new illusions about reality. The only time Bush actually utters the word mistake is in seeking to blur the story of Iraq with the American story of independence.
Our founders faced many difficult challenges -- they made mistakes, they learned from their experiences, and they adjusted their approach.
THE DIFFERENCE here is clear if unstated. The Founders made their mistakes in our own country, while Bush can only admit adjustments in a country not our own. Bumiller blurs for Bush. The text below an acompanying photo in the Times article reads: President Bush today compared the violence surrounding a democratic transition in Iraq to the early years of the United States’ tumultuous democracy. Whether unanalyzed statements are neutral reporting or propagation of the party line propaganda is an open question.
SPONTANEOUS (APPLAUSE AND LAUGHTER) or is it (laughter and applause) update? Bush got no laughs and only the slightest applause when he spoke and took no questions at the Council on Foreign Relations speech. The Heretik has no doubt that this is now recognized as something a mistake that needed adjustment improvement.
SO BUSH TOOK "questions," but not a lot of heat. He appreciates taking questions, particularly ones that are friendly. The focus thus far has been on Bush’s response to the first question where he acknowledges casualties on both sides. Message: concerned, in touch. But no mention of the soldier shipped home as freight. Bush said he appreciates that in response to the first two questions.
THE PRESIDENT: I'll repeat the question. If I don't like it, I'll make it up. (Laughter and applause.) Q -- Thank you for coming to the city where liberty was born. Central to your policy in Iraq is the role of the Iraqis. We hear widely different tales about how the Iraqis are doing in their own area of defense. Could you give us your perspective on how they're doing, how well the military is doing, what you feel the capability is to do the task that you want them to do, to include some of the widely different impressions that we hear about.
BUSH WENT ON for paragraphs in the answer to this "question." Most importantly, he appreciates that, unspecified.
THE PRESIDENT: No, I appreciate that. . . .
THE MOST QUOTED LINE from yesterday’s “speech” took place during this question and answer “spontaneous” interplay where the White House risked Bush mauling syntax and meaning to get out the message that we mean it, we really do. The message is we can only defeat ourselves in Iraq
The enemy has got one weapon. See, they can't defeat us militarily. What they can do is they can -- and will -- kill innocent people in the hopes of trying to get the United States of America to leave the battlefield early. The only way we can lose is if we lose our nerve. And they know that. And they've stated that publicly.
THEY HAVE STATED nothing of the sort. George Bush is more honest than his critics would admit. In Iraq today, when reality confronts his illusions, he stated the Bush Doctrine again: If I don't like it, I'll make it up.
“I LOVE THE SMELL OFMcLELLAN IN THE MORNING. . . It smells like complete victory. Some day this wore is gonna end.” Q And I have one more question. How do you define "complete" -- how does the President define "complete victory in Iraq"? MR. McCLELLAN: Well, he actually defines "victory" in his remarks. He talked about that today. Victory is when the terrorists and Saddam loyalists no longer threaten Iraq's democracy. Victory is when the Iraqi security forces can protect their citizens. And victory is achieved when Iraq is not a safe haven from which terrorists can plot attacks against America and others in the civilized world.
THE HERETIK NOTES "safe" is something the paranoid forever chase. Is the subject of this tale and chase the object of our own tail and fears? Forever is a mighty long time.
RECOMMENDED ADDITIONAL READING STEP AND REPEAT Tom Watson: George Bush looked every bit like the CEO President his handlers promised us in 2000, all Powerpoint and annual reports in front of a friendly audience (actually young men and women who are under obligation to listen attentively to their commander-in-chief) and of course, the obligatory "step and repeat" backdrop.
THE HERETIK NOTES Watson posts about Bush's first speech here. That was Bush's first step and repeataswe slogas he sloughs off as policy lurches toward "success" slouches toward Bethlehem Baghadad and inevitable "success."
THE LONG GRAY LINE Mannion on Carter at West Point: Fortress Iraq has always been the keystone to the Bush Leaguers' and neo-cons plans to bring "democracy" to the Mideast. Democracy being a string of puppet governments in Iraq, Iran, and Syria, friendly to Israel and even friendlier to American oil companies. The neo-cons and the Bush Leaguers, being cowards and bullies at heart, believe that the only way to bring about peace---a phrase which here means merely keeping American business interests abroad safe---is to scare the beejeebers out of anyone who scares them. Plus, they have become really enamoured of, and dependent upon, the flypaper theory. So Carter was only pointing out the obvious. Bush can't scale back in Iraq to any great degree without giving up all his Adminstration's plans for the Mideast.
SO THE HERETIK KNOWS we will continue to see “progress” in Iraq, but never enough for us to be able to leave.
GEORGE BUSH SWOOPED IN and out of an appearance before the Council of Foreign Relations to once again say victory is ours. New bit: Najaf where his hand picked former Prime Minister Allawi was attacked on Sunday is a place of progress for peace.[Today's White House Iraq Fact Sheet] [White House transcript] But things are going more slowly. We can expect to be there. A while.
AFTER SEPTEMBER ELEVENTH Iraq means:
Like earlier struggles for freedom, this war will take many turns, and the enemy must be defeated on every battlefront -- from the streets of Western cities, to the mountains of Afghanistan, to the tribal regions of Pakistan, to the islands of Southeast Asia and the Horn of Africa. Yet the terrorists have made it clear that Iraq is the central front in their war against humanity. So we must recognize Iraq as the central front in the war on terror.
IF WE DON’T STOP the terrorists over there, Bush could be stopped over here. NEW TODAY sort of: “Rejectionists” are ordinary Iraqis. Saddamites Saddamists “lack popular support” except where they are popular. And oh, yeah, Zarqawi.
VERY NEW TODAY (Applause) and (Laughter) are missing from the official White House transcript. The war today didn’t get the response it did last week
In a sharp break with the council's own traditions, Bush is being allowed to speak -- for 50 minutes -- then leave without taking any questions. "Obviously, we strongly suggested -- certainly made the case -- that it would be in the interest of the president and in the interest of our membership that the president take questions," council vice president for communications Lisa Shields told me this morning. "But true to his format, they declined."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi suggested that Bush was out of touch with reality in Iraq. ''Just because he says thing are improving there, doesn't make it so,'' the California Democrat said. ''The president says the security situation on the ground is better. It is not,'' Pelosi said. ''More of the same in Iraq is not making us safer.'
MORE OF THE SAME in Iraq and from Republicans and Democrats is all we can expect in the short term. When will we see some new thinking and imagination? In and out works as tactic for giving speeches that can’t be questioned. Iraq deserves more than that. And the American people do too.
SHOCK OF THE NEWVice President Cheney told troops Tuesday that terrorists can win in Iraq only "if we lose our nerve and abandon our mission." He rejected calls for a speedy drawdown of armed forces.
THE HERETIK NOTES Cheney also applauded Lieberman applauding Cheney and Bush. Will the circle jerk be unbroken?
ON WINNING AND LOSING Anne Applebaum says: But what if all of this vocabulary -- winning, losing, victory, defeat -- is simply misplaced? There are, after all, wars that are not actually won or lost. There are wars that achieve some of their goals, that result only in partial solutions and that leave much business unfinished. There are wars that do not end with helicopters evacuating Americans from the embassy roof but that do not produce a victorious march into Berlin, either. There are wars that end ambivalently -- wars, for example, such as the one we fought in Korea.
THE HERETIK NOTES that while absolute victory may be rare in reality, human nature demands such clarity, moral or otherwise. Reality, however, and nuance need more work. Nuance is for the likes of Kerry, for “cowards” who give up on the vision. Once again those who yearn for the ideal torture reality. While the war was sold as a cakewalk and we have a president who so often adopts the attitude of “Let them eat cake I’m going for a walk or a bike ride,” the United States will be on the rack for decades in Iraq.
RECOMMENDED READINGSteve Soto says Iraq: Change the Rhetoric. As The Heretik said previously, imagination. Please.
SNARK ATTACKSNTodd: Exploding cell phones. The Heretik notes after the cakewalk ended, the truth expodes in Iraq daily, usually on a roadside in the form of a IED. Dependable Renegade: I miss the simple days.
THE END DRAWS NEAR As in all affairs of love and war, one side knows it far earlier than the other. Little clues are offered and unheeded. The loved one has no need of the lover. The lover loses the loved, but before that all sense of reality roams far from the lover’s grasp. The lover clutches the loved in the savage way age old. Beneath the talon, blood spurts. Crimson sprays across the air. The blood of the lover and the loved pools together, forever mingled on a common earth. As the loved one flies off, the lover cries out with certainty about who flew off first. We are left watching. This earth we fight over even as the sky belongs to us all.
ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE The Heretik was reading Juan Cole yesterday who has a great rundown as always on Iraq. Down in the post he points to how “secure” Iraq is. Read it for all its goodness.
But even here, in the southern Shiite heartland that is largely free of sectarian tensions, the American enterprise still faces steep hurdles, ones that are more subtle but no less subversive than the Sunni-led insurgency.
A crowd of angry men, some wielding knives, others throwing shoes or bricks, attacked an entourage led by former interim prime minister Ayad Allawi in the Shiite Muslim holy city of Najaf on Sunday, as gunfire echoed in the area. Allawi later described the melee as an "assassination attempt." Allawi was not hurt, according to Abdulal Wahid Esawi, secretary general of Allawi's Iraqi National Accord party.
YES, IRAQ IS “SECURE.” Security like this next time will get you killed. Juan Cole has more on this here today.
FEELING FEAVERISH The story behind the Bush Naval Academy speech gets hotter when you realize how “feaverish” it is. Bush who doesn’t listen to polls hired this Duke University pollster in case he decided to look at polls or something beside Bush himself in the mirror to tell him how to act on Iraq. Feaver’s view for a long time has been that Americans will accept continuing casualties so long as they think the war can be won. Feaver has data no one else accepts. How like Bush himself. When Bush wants a new view on Iraq, when he finally listens to a pollster, he hires one who sees things . . . exactly like Bush. Pathetic. Digby has more.
IN VIETNAM IRAQ TODAY The war can be won if we don’t give in to defeatists. Or something. Bush’s essential idea that Iraq is the central front in the Global War on Everything Terror is taking a beating . . . from the mouths of Bush’s own generals:
Iraqis, rather than foreign fighters, now form the vast majority of the insurgents who are waging a ferocious guerrilla war against United States forces in Sunni western Iraq, American commanders have revealed. Their conclusion, disclosed to the Sunday Telegraph in interviews over 10 days in battle-torn Anbar province, contradicts the White House message that outsiders are the principal enemy in Iraq. Of 1,300 suspected insurgents arrested over the past five months in and around Ramadi, none has been a foreigner. Col John Gronski, senior officer in the town, Anbar's provincial capital, said that almost all insurgent fighting there was by Iraqis. Foreigners provided only money and logistical support. "The foreign fighters are staying north of the [Euphrates] river, training and advising, like the Soviets were doing in Vietnam," he said.
PSST, NIXON GEORGEVietnam Iraq is right next to Cambodia and Laos Syria and Iran. Whatever you are doing while you are withdrawingwinning peace with honor winning the war in Vietnam Iraq, don’t expand the war don't give in to defeatists.
WHAT’S NEXT? Love will keep us together. Or something Via Jeanne at Body and Soul The Heretik was led to Helena Cobban who has quite a bit on Tonkin and Iraq connection and concludes:
In the aftermath of a US withdrawal from Iraq, we need to recognize that the whole structure of the relationship between the US and the other 96% of the world's people has to be radically restructured.
THE HERETIK SAYS whether we withdraw or not, a radical restructuring of viewpoint is needed here in the United States. The situation in Vietnam in its time was looked at in just the dire terms that the saddest, darkest scenarios in Iraq now envision. The world will be simply doomed if *we* do not "stay the course." Or something. The world survives, with our help or without, and sometimes thrives.
THIS WILL COME AS A SHOCK to the likes of Patrick Buchanan. As in Vietnam and now in regard to Iraq, the rest of the world has a difficulty understanding why the United States feels it is so much more "right" than the rest of the world.
WHETHER IT IS LIES about pre war intelligence or overblown doomsday fantasies, the fiasco our fears create blow up in the faces of the rest of the world as well as our own. Now we find ourselves in a jungle of animals and we believe clearly one animal is more equal than others.
WITH A QURAN UNDER HIS ARM the secular Satan Saddam Hussein attacked the American occupiers of Iraq . . . as occupiers of Iraq. Hussein who previously had little need for the Christian god or Allah now declares holy unholy war on the unholy ally wholey on his side in the Eighties. Bush Daddy and near religious icon to the Right Ronnie Reagan can expect some scorching around the edges of their reputations as Hussein's history of the ancient Eighties past and WMD shed light on the war now. Or would that be darkness?
"I want you to order them, not ask them", Mr. Hussein told the chief judge, Mr. Amin, who said that he would ask the Americans to be more careful. Mr. Hussein continued, "You are an Iraqi. They are foreigners, and occupiers and invaders, so you must condemn them".
REACTIONS ON THE RIGHTCaptain Ed calls it among other things: . . . perfect opening round for the trials of Saddam Hussein and his sick coterie of sycophants. None of the sick sycophants have taken up the challenge, but if The Heretik did, he might say who thinks Saddam was a good guy and when did following process make one a sycophant?