Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The President's "Strategy for Victory"

There is no strategy. The President's speech today was the same old mix of bombastic, meaningless rhetoric; delusional fantasy, and inability to distinguish between cause and effect, or to think logically.

A few examples:

Their [the terrorists'] objective is to drive the United States and coalition forces out of Iraq, and use the vacuum that would be created by an American retreat to gain control of that country. They would then use Iraq as a base from which to launch attacks against America, and overthrow moderate governments in the Middle East, and try to establish a totalitarian Islamic empire that reaches from Indonesia to Spain. That's their stated objective. That's what their leadership has said.

Which begs the question of why the United States and the non-coalition coalition is in Iraq to begin with. They're trying to drive us out because we're there. Why are we there? There would be no need for retreat, no vacuum, and no terrorists in Iraq if the U.S. and the non-coalition had not invaded. We created the monster. Now Bush is using that monster as the justification for staying.

This is an enemy without conscience -- and they cannot be appeased. If we were not fighting and destroying this enemy in Iraq, they would not be idle. They would be plotting and killing Americans across the world and within our own borders. By fighting these terrorists in Iraq, Americans in uniform are defeating a direct threat to the American people. Against this adversary, there is only one effective response: We will never back down. We will never give in. And we will never accept anything less than complete victory.

You mean, Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups cannot fight in Iraq and launch terrorist attacks in other countries at the same time? Tell that to London. Tell it to Madrid. And tell it to yourself. Because if being in Iraq is keeping terrorists out of the United States, why do we need the Patriot Act? I'm also wondering why you think it's okay for Al Qaeda to be plotting and killing Iraqis so Americans can be safe; and why you think it's okay to use American men and women as live decoys.

Our strategy in Iraq has three elements. On the political side, we know that free societies are peaceful societies, so we're helping the Iraqis build a free society with inclusive democratic institutions that will protect the interests of all Iraqis. We're working with the Iraqis to help them engage those who can be persuaded to join the new Iraq -- and to marginalize those who never will. On the security side, coalition and Iraqi security forces are on the offensive against the enemy, cleaning out areas controlled by the terrorists and Saddam loyalists, leaving Iraqi forces to hold territory taken from the enemy, and following up with targeted reconstruction to help Iraqis rebuild their lives.

As we fight the terrorists, we're working to build capable and effective Iraqi security forces, so they can take the lead in the fight -- and eventually take responsibility for the safety and security of their citizens without major foreign assistance.

And on the economic side, we're helping the Iraqis rebuild their infrastructure, reform their economy, and build the prosperity that will give all Iraqis a stake in a free and peaceful Iraq. In doing all this we have involved the United Nations, other international organizations, our coalition partners, and supportive regional states in helping Iraqis build their future.

This "strategy" is not new. You've been telling us these same things for almost three years now, and they're no closer to being true now than they were at the start. Iraq is not a free society. It's an occupied country consumed by terror, chaos, atrocious human rights violations, and corruption. And the Iraqi security forces and the terrorists are often the same people. Don't you read the papers? Oh wait. Never mind, I take back that question.

Iraqi forces are earning the trust of their countrymen -- who are willing to help them in the fight against the enemy.

Iraqi forces are earning the terror of their countrymen -- who have stopped leaving their homes for all but the most dire emergencies because no place outside their homes is safe anymore. And I hate to be the one to tell you this, Georgie, but -- one of the enemies in Iraq is us.

For more on what Bush said in his speech, and what is actually true, see this excellent analysis in The Independent by Rupert Cornwell, Patrick Cockburn, and Andrew Buncombe.

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