But clearly full of wack. Bush’s handlers are losing their balance. Clearly.
Bush at the tipping point. In the balance are the lives of Iraqis like this child, who lost her leg in a U.S. missile attack early in the war, as I noted last March.
George W. Bush cleared the air yesterday by making it crystal clear that we have a clear plan for victory in Iraq.
When the Soviet Union was still around, thousands of American students became Kremlinologists, counting words and deconstructing seemingly innocuous phrases in the speeches of the secretive arch-conservatives who ruled that crumbling empire.
Let’s be clear about something: The secretive arch-conservatives of the Bush regime are no less worthy of such study. Some of us already hang on every word and every document from Comrade Bush’s White House, especially when he declares victory in a debacle.
The GOP faces destruction in next year’s election. Are we clear about that? Bush’s handlers are. The purpose of his speech at Annapolis was not to offer any new strategy or plan but to convince the American public that the regime was itself “clear” about having such a plan for the aftermath of its unjustified invasion of Iraq. A plan that it didn’t have and doesn’t have.
The word “clear” popped up so many times in Bush’s speech that I thought I was listening to the keynote speaker at a Scientology convention.
But “clear” is such a great word for Bush’s handlers to use. By pounding it into our heads, maybe they can convince us to “clear” them of any role in the scandals like Wampumgate that are rumbling across D.C. If just one future grand juror becomes fixated on that word “clear” when deciding the fate of some weeping congressman or smug White House aide … hmmmm. At the very least, maybe the agitprop will help ease the pressure on Vise President Dick Cheney.
I noted yesterday, before Bush’s speech, that the White House’s remarkable “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq” document has a section starting on page 7 entitled “Our Strategy for Victory is Clear.” Let’s see how Comrade Bush conveyed that message in his Annapolis speech. Standing on a platform peppered with the slogan “Plan for Victory,” Bush gave his usual hellos and then launched into his strategy early:
… the terrorists have made it clear that Iraq is the central front in their war against humanity, and so we must recognize Iraq as the central front in the war on terror.
“War against humanity,” huh? Not just a war against occupiers. The very next paragraph of the speech made Bush’s “plan for victory” absolutely clear:
As we fight the enemy in Iraq, every man and woman who volunteers to defend our nation deserves an unwavering commitment to the mission — and a clear strategy for victory. A clear strategy begins with a clear understanding of the enemy we face.
Are we clear about that? A short time later, after describing “an enemy without conscience,” Bush said:
To achieve victory over such enemies, we are pursuing a comprehensive strategy in Iraq. Americans should have a clear understanding of this strategy — how we look at the war, how we see the enemy, how we define victory, and what we’re doing to achieve it. So today, we’re releasing a document called the “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq.” This is an unclassified version of the strategy we’ve been pursuing in Iraq, and it is posted on the White House website — whitehouse.gov. I urge all Americans to read it.
Already did, Bush. As I wrote yesterday, it certainly makes things clear.
Anyway, back to the speech. Bush threw out a bunch of numbers about “Iraq security forces,” adding:
The progress of the Iraqi forces is especially clear when the recent anti-terrorist operations in Tal Afar are compared with last year’s assault in Fallujah. … in most situations [in Fallujah], the Iraqi role was limited to protecting the flanks of coalition forces, and securing ground that had already been cleared by our troops. This year in Tal Afar, it was a very different story.
The real story, however, is very different from Bush’s story. The number of fully ready Iraqi battalions is highly debatable, and Bush’s speech didn’t even mention the word “militia” once, even though one of the biggest problems for the U.S. right now is how to keep a lid on the various Shiite and Sunni militias.
Bush continued with his Tal Afar fairy tale by saying:
Iraqi forces not only cleared the city, they held it.
But if you’re measuring “progress,” you have to keep in mind that just around the time Bush gave his speech, insurgents were blasting the hell out of Ramadi, directly attacking U.S. bases and government offices in that city just west of Baghdad with mortars, rockets, and riflemen.
This comes just 15 days ahead of the next scheduled election in Iraq. But the smoke in Ramadi didn’t get into Bush’s eyes. Speaking of the upcoming vote, he said:
With each ballot cast, the Iraqi people have sent a clear message to the terrorists: Iraqis will not be intimidated.
Actually, many of Iraq’s 28 million people are rightfully fearing for their lives. Clearly, not all of the Iraqi press consists of stories planted by the Pentagon — a scheme just uncovered by the Los Angeles Times.
Check out the excellent work of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting for confirmation of that. Even our former puppet leader of Iraq, Iyad Allawi, is complaining of the worsening situation. An IWPR Iraqi Press Monitor summary of a fresh story in Allawi’s newspaper notes:
Deterioration of Human Rights
The head of the Iraqi Accordance Front slate, Iyad Allawi, said human rights violations in Iraq are now worse than during Saddam’s time. He directly criticised the interior ministry for the violations, asserting that many Iraqis are arrested and interrogated inhumanely. He said Iraqis are tortured and some have died during the interrogations. He said he does not blame the minister but those who stand behind secret jails and killings. He called for mass arrests and torture to stop, saying that if not, evil will dominate ministries and all government associations.
But enough about the Iraqis. What about us Americans? Bush noted that “some critics continue to assert that we have no plan in Iraq except to ‘stay the course.'” After trying to define that phrase, he cleared the air about whether the Bush regime itself was clear, saying:
Our strategy in Iraq is clear, our tactics are flexible and dynamic; we have changed them as conditions required and they are bringing us victory against a brutal enemy. (Applause.)
Mission accomplished. Clearly.