Monday, July 03, 2006

Bush and Diminishing Expectations in Iraq

It's Fourth of July weekend, the news is slow, I'm reading Scott Ritter's, Iraq Confidential, and I just want a day or so to think about Sy Hersh's article and where our nation is going.

Here's two posts from American Pundit. The first is about a survey of terrorist experts and the tiny detail that most of them don't think much of Bush's terror policies; American Pundit quotes a former neocon:
Francis Fukuyama, the neoconservative purist, makes an insightful critique of the Bush administration's inability to effectively respond to global terrorism,
Skepticism about international law and the fight with the Europeans over Iraq has meant that neoconservatives have had virtually nothing innovative or interesting to say about new possibilities for multilateral organization. They would much rather harp on the United Nation's failings in the Oil for Food scandal than think about how to create an organization of democracies that would build incentives to improve governance and democracy around the world.

In the period immediately after World War II, American power was used not just to deter Soviet aggression but also to create a welter of new international organizations and agreements, from the Bretton Woods institutions (the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund) to the United Nations, NATO, the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand, and United States Treaty), GATT, and the like.

The Bush administration and its neoconservative supporters have been very critical of existing international initiatives like the Kyoto Protocol and the International Criminal Court, but have offered up no alternatives in their place that would legitimate and enhance the effectiveness of American action in the world.
In other words, if the solution to nuclear proliferation and Islamic terrorism isn't the preventative invasion and occupation of every single potentially hostile region in the world where people hate -- or might someday come to hate -- American foreign policy, then Republicans are out of ideas... Hey, look over there! It's two guys kissing!

And here's another post from American Pundit on the lowered requirements of the Bush Administration of what constitutes victory in Iraq:
A few days ago, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow really had to split hairs to find a difference between the administration's cut-and-run timetable and the Democrats' plan. While I always chuckle over Snow's stammering when he gets tripped up in the spin, one interesting thing was lost in the whole debate: President Bush redefined victory in Iraq.

According to President Bush, victory in Iraq no longer includes the establishment of a liberal democracy and the democratic institutions necessary to sustain it, victory no longer includes a free market economy (the Iraqi government centrally controls the oil industry, the country's only significant economic engine), and victory no longer includes reconstructing Iraq's infrastructure.

President Bush's new definition of victory in Iraq is, "a free government that is able to sustain itself."

So it doesn't matter that Iraq's constitution is predicated on repressive Sharia Law, or that the government is dominated by the Iranian-backed Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and Muqtada al-Sadr, or that Baghdad still only gets a few hours of electricity every day. As soon as the Iraqi government can resist an assault by a few hundred Sunni insurgents, President Bush can declare "Mission accomplished!"

To paraphrase Colin Powell: if you break it, you own it. President Bush has figured out, apparently, that he doesn't have to fix Iraq to declare victory. He only has to sweep the broken pieces out of sight.

Happy Fourth of July.


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