Wednesday, November 30


Heard Michael Ware, Time magazine's Baghdad bureau chief, on Randi Rhodes' AirAmerica show deconstructing Bush's speech today.

Michael scoffed at Dubya's use of the action in Talifar (he was there, embedded with U.S. soldiers) as a model of "how it ought to go." He said far from "leading" the assault, as the president claimed, Iraqi troops were "shoved to the front" and used as "cannon fodder." The Iraqis were completely subject to the U.S. command structure, he stated, and when an Iraqi officer tried to object to some assignment he was "manhandled" and removed from the theater. In addition, the U.S. provided "every weapon in our arsenal" including Bradley tanks and airpower.

I listened to the speech on the radio and sat in a parking lot to hear the final fifteen minutes. It was one long recital of alleged points of progress, many of which an informed person could immediately identify as outright lies or certainly hype. Bush gave no benchmarks by which we can judge forward movement, gave no estimates as to costs that might be incurred, and detailed no new strategies. In short, the speech was no more than one long summary of past P.R. releases, and his 35-page "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" (which I read during lunch) simply a longer version of the speech. Nothing new here.

The Village Voice echoes my own sentiments.

"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.

The pResident used the words "our enemy" something upward of 20 times (I got distracted and lost count). He defined those we are fighting in three groups, Rejectionists (Sunnis who have lost the power they enjoyed under Saddam), Saddamists (agents of Hussein's regime), and Terrorists. He failed to note that the first two categories comprise 90-95% of those we are fighting -- AND THEY ARE IRAQIS. In other words, we are actively engaged in fighting the very people we came to "liberate."

Bush has said repeatedly that the U.S. wouldn't leave Iraq until the mission is accomplished. That mission has changed several times since we invaded, but currently it seems to be to train and empower Iraqi troops so that they can quell the insurgency, establish democratic institutions that have a chance of enduring after we depart, and secure the output of Iraqi oil fields for American oil companies. That could take 6-12 years.

But who's counting? Certainly not Bush. Notice he didn't tell the American people that today.

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Blogger mikevotes said...

It's funny, the further out we get from the speech and the relase of the strategy, the more negative the press has gotten.

It's like they all waited, and when nobody from the right really stood up and said, "yes, bygod, he's right," the press has felt free to start tearing bigger and bigger holes in it.

2:01 PM  
Blogger Motherlode said...

Interesting insight. I've been so holed up editing a company film that I've missed a great deal of the press coverage, so wasn't really aware that it was that negative.

From what you say, it seems to be one more incidence of the MSM testing the political waters before they dare to speak their minds.

6:28 PM  
Blogger mikevotes said...

And quite honestly, you haven't missed much. I mean, how important is it really to see Blitzer put on his serious face and ask, "Will the president's speech make a difference?"

4:21 PM  

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