Pentagon paper cites ‘civil war’ in Iraq. Lucky for regime, public is oblivious.
Continuing an astounding string of luck that started with his being born into a patrician oil family in the U.S. instead of a tribe of starving villagers someplace else on the globe, George W. Bush declared victory in Iraq before the polls opened and held onto an early lead as voting took place today.
Yes, the emperor’s new clothes looked fine yesterday on the sixth day of Human Rights Week, didn’t they? In spite of the fact that yet another document has surfaced from the Pentagon that frankly acknowledges a state of civil war in Iraq.
Hey, which war is important? Clearly, the propaganda war. And if Bush wins this round of it, our eventual pullout from Iraq will be even more painful than it’s going to be. Only if Bush loses the propaganda war will the neocons lose power and more realistic pols take their place to start working on a solution. The barometer for this is John Bolton. As long as he’s our ambassador to the U.N., we have no hope of putting together an international or regional peacemaking effort in Iraq.
Somehow, people think it’s news that Bush, in his speech yesterday, took responsibility. He didn’t say anything much different from what he’s said before. Reading the stories about the speech, however, makes you think as if you’re listening to elderly relatives, recalling their slow nephew’s disastrous past performances in public readings, charitably cut him some slack for his latest attempt.
And then the public wind up arguing among themselves: “I think he convinced us!” “Well, I’m not so sure. Do you really think he sounded convincing? I’m not convinced that he convinced us.”
As to the substance of Bush’s recent agitprop campaign, the Washington Post‘s Peter Baker does a nice job this morning of breaking down the recent series of four pre-vote speeches on the war.
But an even more realistic look at Iraq is readily available from the Pentagon itself — not on its home page but buried in the latest issue of Strategic Insights, the invaluable e-journal produced by the military’s own Naval Postgrad School’s Center for Contemporary Conflict. (And I was going to steal the center’s name for the White House. Too late.)
For a hearty breakfast, start with Aurel Croissant‘s introduction to the mag’s December 2005 issue, which is devoted to the Bertelsmann Transformation Index 2006, a sophisticated, blunt, and seriously exhaustive study of political extremism and violence in 119 countries.
Any election held under these circumstances — especially while a foreign power tries frantically to get everybody and their cars off the streets so they can go back out on foot and vote and thus participate in “democracy” — is a sham. You thought Ohio and Florida were bad in 2000 and 2004. Oh, brother.
Now, that is the kind of responsibility that Bush will not take. Somebody or some investigative body in the future will have to try to make him take it.
Meanwhile, everybody in the U.S. seems to think that just the act of voting is significant. It is nice that Iraqis are going to the polls. But the significance of it is more than uncertain, considering the civil war.
The headline on the Washington Post‘s main election piece notes that Iraqis are “undeterred by violence.” Never mind that the ballyhooed election is taking place in a country under that severe lockdown engineered by nearly 200,000 foreign troops.
Did I mention that the voting took place during a nationwide vehicle ban?
You can read about other extreme measures on Australia’s excellent News24 site, which notes that the Green Zone still experienced a big blast this morning:
The stringent security measures have brought Iraq to a virtual standstill as about 15.5 million Iraqis are called to vote for a new government.
Back to Bush and “responsibility”: The campaign by Bush’s handlers to declare this a victory for “democracy” will probably work. Just look at the lead paragraph of CNN’s story yesterday:
Gee, where have I read that Bush “took responsibility for going to war”? About a million other times, that’s where. Like in this July 30, 2003, USA Today story:
Let’s return to yesterday’s speech. No, Bush did not take responsibility. This is what his handlers had him say:
It’s not news that he says he’s responsible for the decision to invade Iraq. His speechwriters were more careful than the press analyzing the speech. Besides, we fixed the pre-war intelligence, as the Downing Street Memo and other documents show.
Bush also said this yesterday:
Yeah. And Bush said this:
These are things you say that win plaudits?
We’re the ones who have to take responsibility for Bush’s faulty intelligence. We elected the guy twice.