Thursday, January 11, 2007

Bush's Reality and Accountability Problem

Bush has admitted making mistakes but which ones if he cannot even admit what the reality is beyond generalities? I don't completely agree with the Iraq Study Group but their report is far closer to reality than anything we have seen from Bush, including the inane and dishonest speech he made last night (the chattering heads who point to Bush's sincerity in the face of his blatant lies or who point to admission of mistakes should ask themselves if he even understands his own speech; I would argue that Bush's admission of mistakes is no different than a young person blowing off an adult with, "Yeah, whatever.").

Juan Cole of Informed Comment has an excellent post on Bush's speech:
To listen to Bush's speech on Wednesday, you would imagine that al-Qaeda has occupied large swathes of Iraq with the help of Syria and Iran and is brandishing missiles at the US mainland. That the president of the United States can come out after nearly four years of such lies and try to put this fantasy over on the American people is shameful.


...the main problem is not "al-Qaeda," which is small and probably not that important, and anyway is not really Bin Laden's al-Qaeda. They are just Salafi jihadis who appropriated the name. When their leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed, it didn't cause the insurgency to miss a beat. Conclusion: "al-Qaeda" is not central to the struggle. Izzat Ibrahim Duri and the Baath Party are probably the center of gravity of the resistance.

Bush admitted that the Sunni guerrilla destruction of the Askariyah (Golden Dome) shrine at Samarra set off an orgy of sectarian reprisals. But he does not seem to have actually absorbed the lesson here. The guerrillas did not have to hold territory in order to carry out that bombing. They just had to be able to sneak into a poorly guarded old building that Bush did not even know about and blow it up. The symbolic and psychic damage that they did to the Shiites was profound. ...

There are other such targets. The Shrine of Imam Kadhim at Kadhimiya, the shrine of Ali in Najaf, and the shrine of Husayn in Karbala, and the person of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani himself, also the person of Hujjat al-Islam Muqtada al-Sadr. (The arrogance and ignorance of the US chattering classes is such that they openly talk about "taking out" al-Sadr, as though that would calm the Iraqi Shiites down. Saddam thought like that when he offed Muqtada's father; didn't work.) ...

In point after point, Dr. Cole points out the blatant misconceptions of Bush's new 'strategy' which closely resembles a collection of the old failed assumptions that have created such a fiasco in Iraq. Bush is being profoundly dishonest with the American people and there needs to be public airing in Congress of what the problems are and if Bush still pursues his nonsense, there needs to be a reckoning. In the meantime, Congress should do everything it can to slow down Bush's reckless gamble before a greater war ensues.

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