By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
Faced with incontrovertible facts of increasing costs ($6 billion a month), soldier deaths day after day(2,100), growing disenchantment in Congress (The Senate is demanding periodic reports on how the war is faring), the failure of the Iraqi security forces to protect the country,all signs of a coming defeat, he keeps on keeping on with pledges of total victory. He wont set "artificial deadlines" for withdrawal. "No war has ever been won on a timetable - and neither will this one," the National Strategy for Victory in Iraq says.
"These decisions about troop levels will be driven by the conditions on the ground in Iraq and the good judgment of our commanders, not by artificial timetables set by politicians in Washington," Bush said in his followup address.
Bush's swaggering style reinforces his image and that of the country of being a bully and, worse, a loser.
"America will not run in the face of car bombers and assassins so long as I am your commander-in-chief," says Bush, the man who squirmed his way out of Vietnam duty.
Bushs backup as always is Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who yesterday said, "The people who have been denigrating the Iraqi security forces are flat wrong," he said at a Pentagon news conference. "They've been wrong from the beginning. They're doing a darn good job, and they're doing an increasingly better job every day, every week, every month."
Much of this present--and long overdue talk of an actual strategy for Iraq began with the pre-Thanksgiving call by Representative John Murtha to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq. Murtha, a Democrat, combat veteran, and decorated Marine, got smacked down almost immediately by Republicans. First they called him a coward, and then tried to show him as muddle-headed.
And then came the smacks from conservative Democrats, like Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman. In the Wall Street Journal, Lieberman argued, "I am convinced almost all of the progress in Iraq and throughout the Middle East will be lost if those forces are withdrawn faster than the Iraqi military is capable of securing the country." He added that he was disappointed by "Democrats focusing on how President Bush took America into the war in Iraq almost three years ago, and by Republicans who are more worried about whether the war will bring them down in next November's elections than they are concerned about how we continue the progress in Iraq in the months and years ahead."
As for Bushs national victory strategy, an unclassified version of the obvious, Bush breaks down the enemy into three groups: Rejectionists, mostly Sunni Arabs, whose resistance the U.S. thinks will gradually fade. Second are the Saddamists, active members of the former regime whose power the U.S. expects to decline over time until finally the Iraqi security forces can defeat them. And finally there are the terrorists, who are tied in with al Qaeda and who must be hunted down and captured or killed.
All of this seems removed from reality, in which the U.S. cant guarantee security and its allies in the Iraqi military are commonly viewed as U.S. puppets sent out to conduct torture. The Iraqis want the U.S. out.
Most of all, Bush himself and his strategy statement omit oil, a major reason--if not the only reason--for invading Iraq to begin with. And here the U.S. is on the verge of executing a total takeover of the once nationalized industry, turning it instead into a privatized business to be run by the big international companies--descendants of the original oil companies that colonized Iraq to begin with.