Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Understanding Bush's Iraq Policy

I cannot even pretend to understand Bush's Iraq policy after three years of war.

Actually, I don't even know when this war began. We hear bombing in Iraq began in the fall of 2002. We hear special forces were clearly operating in Iraq by January of 2003. If the war began with the Shock and Awe operation in March 2003, then we're not quite at the three year mark. But if Iraq is part of the Global War on Terror, then we're really past the four year mark. Are we accomplishing anything yet? Yes, the Republicans keep getting reelected.

Apparently, Bush has given up rebuilding Iraq. This means we may no longer have a policy in Iraq except perhaps to withdraw at least 70,000 troops in time for the midterm elections. How do I know 70,000 will be withdrawn? I don't. But the Bush Administration feels free to draw various numbers out of thin air including the initial low number of troops needed to stabilize Iraq. In any case, as the money runs out, American contractors are now beginning to leave Iraq:

American private contractors are preparing to leave Iraq as US money runs out and government ministries take charge of the reconstruction effort, according to the Washington Times.

Fluor Corp, the engineering and construction giant and one of the biggest private-sector employers in Iraq, at one time had 250 to 300 people from the United States in Iraq, and employed roughly 20,000 Iraqis. But now, as the US-funded part of the reconstruction effort comes to a close, Fluor has, perhaps, 100 Americans left in the country and is phasing out the Iraqi jobs.
It is unlikely that the security situation in Iraq will improve as American contractors fire Iraqi employees in a country where jobs are already scarce.

Apparently, a preliminary report has been written about the failings of our contractors in Iraq. I noticed this in an article about the report:
The report reveals that US military officials also said that reconstruction effort would cost up to US$100 billion over the next several years, far more than the Bush administration has appropriated for the rebuilding effort.

John Hamre, president and CEO of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former deputy defense secretary from 1997-1999, has read the report. Hamre described the document as a “gutsy” and “honest” assessment of an effort that “didn't go particularly well".

"The impression you get is of an organization that had too little structure on the ground over there, that had conflicting guidance from the United States," Hamre said. "It had a very difficult environment and pressures by that environment to quickly move things."

He told the New York Times that that sort of situation "creates shortcuts that probably turn into short circuits".
If I need an electrician or a doctor or an auto mechanic, I don't want the guy with the big spiel who talks tough and says, "Trust me." I just want the guy who knows what he's doing.


Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Here's a theory — and that's all it is — that might be of interest.

In campaign year 2004, Bush was still benefiting from Republicans' anomalous victories on '02, since he had gone out of his way to campaign for GOP candidates all over the country. His image was held aloft by $200 million worth of high-powered marketing.

As we have since learned, Bush's image was also spared the tarnish several important news stories might've imparted, had Time and the New York Times not decided to hold those stories until long after the election.

For the first half of last year, Bush's insistence on pushing his Social Security scheme, especially to carefully screened audiences, became an irritant. Stories of intensifying, increasingly deadly attacks against out people in Iraq began to register in the public consciousness. Administration assurances we didn't need more troops there and reassurances the insurgency was being beaten began to ring hollow. When Cheney proclaimed the insurgency was in its "final throes," there was a sharp, sarcastic reaction.

Cindy Sheehan's protest gained attention and won sympathy. Then came the hurricanes, especially Katrina. The full measure of Bush's incompetence and of the incompetence of the cronies he's posted to important positions throughout the government was put on display for weeks, and people were disgusted by what they saw.

As this was happening, there was no big-money pro-Bush campaign being waged to pump up his image. Malcontents in his own party began to assert themselves. The White House press corps and other journalists began to do more sharp questioning and clear-eyed scrutinizing. Much-belated and unflattering stories came to public attention.

A year too late to do much good, scales began falling from people's eyes. And with them, Bush's poll numbers fell precipitously.

There's reason to be hopeful that the public finally has a realistic grasp of what folly Bush's Iraq war is, of what a mess he's made of that and virtually everything he's done as president. He and his party have demonstrated they can't govern well. And worse, they're corrupt in their deeds and dishonest in their words.

I just got through reading Republicans managed to raise $101 million over the past year, which is a record for a post-election year. The question for them is, will they be able to buy enough whitewash to cover Bush's record and congressional Republicans' record again?

12:49 AM  
Blogger panopticonman said...

Are we accomplishing anything yet? Yes, the Republicans keep getting reelected.

You've got that right, Craig! For the Bush gang, it's all about keeping the whip hand.

5:41 PM  

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