George W. Bush – the Great Deceiver – will try again to turn fantasy into, well, more fantasy. With General Petraeus plugging the success of Bush’s “surge”, we seem to have forgotten that Bush’s rationales for going to war in the first place have shifted like the sands of the Indiana Dunes.
Stripped of all his gobbledy-gook rhetoric, let me remind you of his reasons for marching into a nation which had not harmed us. His reasons can be boiled down to three main objectives:
(1) to eliminate Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD);
(2) to diminish the threat of international terrorism; and
(3) to promote democracy in Iraq and surrounding areas.
The first reason? Despite early attempts to classify anything that even remotely looked like it might be a weapon of mass destruction, none was found. Today, that reason is seen as a joke. But it is no joke that 3700+ American lives have been snuffed out and thousands of psychologically, emotionally, and physically scarred veterans who will need life-long care are returning to try to put their lives back together. Add to that the thousands of Iraqi lives destroyed and maimed, and you have an absolute unjustifiable situation based on a lie.
The second reason? What better way to diminish the threat of terrorism than to create an area so unstable that, if terrorists didn’t call Iraq home before, they surely have made it their living quarters now. If Bush had kept his mind on Osama bin Laden instead of pursuing his vendetta against Saddam Hussein, perhaps terrorists would not be springing up like field daisies in Iraq. And, we wouldn’t be discussing the insane idea of attacking Iran.
The third reason? Bush’s ethnocentric view of the world guided this one. Naturally, he had to think of something high-minded and idealistic after the first two based in reality didn’t pan out. Gosh, and how appealing is it to argue that democracy should be spread to the four corners of the globe. Why no self-respecting and patriotic American would dare disagree with that reason.
But the bottom line is that not one of his reasons held water and not one of his reasons justified invading and occupying Iraq. No weapons of mass destruction, no protection for the region against terrorism, and no flourishing of democracy. What Bush seems to ignore is that the Islamic religion and its people are not going to conveniently step out of his way to make his life easier.
The world has 6.5 billion people (more or less). Of those 6.5 billion people on this Earth, more than half are concentrated in two major religions: Christianity and Islam. Christianity is the largest religion in the world with 2.1 billion followers and a growth rate of 1.38%, and, not too far behind is Islam with 1.5 billion followers and a growth rate of 1.84%. Convincing an entire religious population that democracy is best is a pretty tough sell.
And now, after four years of fighting and a troop surge of almost 30,000 personnel, President Bush will supposedly tell the nation Thursday evening that he plans to reduce the American troop presence in Iraq by as many as 30,000 by next summer but will condition those and further cuts on continued progress.
Now here is where I feel like the Aflac duck in the commercial with Yogi Berra in the barber shop. After listening to some nonsensical statements by Yogi, the Aflac duck teeters out of the barber shop shaking his head, dizzy from listening to Yogi’s inane mutterings. Why do I feel that way? Here’s why. Bush sent about 30,000 soldiers to Iraq to implement the surge. Now he boasts that he will “draw down” the troops by 30,000. Isn’t this leaving us where we were to begin with?
The address will stake out a conciliatory tone toward Congress. In his speech, the president will say he understands Americans’ deep concerns about U.S. involvement in Iraq and their desire to bring the troops home. Bush will say that, after hearing from Petraeus and Crocker, he has decided
on a way forward on a way to patronize the American people by telling them that he will reduce the U.S. military presence but not abandon Iraq to chaos.
His deception is priceless. He increased troop strength for the surge, then removes only the surge force calling it a “draw” down and selling it as a “bringing home of the troops.”
By next summer the 30,000 surge force will be back home, and we will be left sitting right where we were before the surge. When are those troops coming home?
Bush will place more conditions on reductions than his general did, insisting that conditions on the ground must warrant cuts and that now-unforeseen events could change the plan. Right back to square one – benchmarks that are never met and no more troop cuts.
And, again, I am left shaking my head – not at the mutterings of Yogi Berra in a paid commercial – but at the inane logic of George W. Bush in his role as the Great Deceiver.