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HiPockets
12-01-2005, 08:05 PM
This appeared on the editorial page of the NYT. I have been saying this for months. Here goes d(it came out kind of chopped up)...


We've seen it before: an embattled president so swathed in his inner
circle
that he completely loses touch with the public and wanders around among
small knots of people who agree with him. There was Lyndon Johnson in the 1960's, Richard Nixon in the 1970's, and George H. W. Bush in the 1990's. Now it's his son's turn.

It has been obvious for months that Americans don't believe the war is
going
just fine, and they needed to hear that President Bush gets that. They
wanted to see that he had learned from his mistakes and adjusted his
course,
and that he had a measurable and realistic plan for making Iraq safe
enough
to withdraw United States troops. Americans didn't need to be convinced
of
Mr. Bush's commitment to his idealized version of the war. They needed
to be
reassured that he recognized the reality of the war.

Instead, Mr. Bush traveled 32 miles from the White House to the Naval
Academy and spoke to yet another of the well-behaved, uniformed
audiences
that have screened him from the rest of America lately. If you do not
happen
to be a midshipman, you'd have to have been watching cable news at
midmorning on a weekday to catch him.

The address was accompanied by a voluminous handout entitled "National
Strategy for Victory in Iraq," which the White House grandly calls the
newly
declassified version of the plan that has been driving the war. If there
was
something secret about that plan, we can't figure out what it was. The
document, and Mr. Bush's speech, were almost entirely a rehash of the
same
tired argument that everything's going just fine. Mr. Bush also offered
the
usual false choice between sticking to his policy and beating a hasty
and
cowardly retreat.

On the critical question of the progress of the Iraqi military, the
president was particularly optimistic, and misleading. He said, for
instance, that Iraqi security forces control major areas, including the
northern and southern provinces and cities like Najaf. That's true if
you
believe a nation can be built out of a change of clothing: these forces
are
based on party and sectarian militias that have controlled many of these

same areas since the fall of Saddam Hussein but now wear Iraqi Army
uniforms. In other regions, the most powerful Iraqi security forces are
rogue militias that refuse to disarm and have on occasion turned their
guns
against American troops, like Moktada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army.

Mr. Bush's vision of the next big step is equally troubling: training
Iraqi
forces well enough to free American forces for more of the bloody and
ineffective search-and-destroy sweeps that accomplish little beyond
alienating the populace.

What Americans wanted to hear was a genuine counterinsurgency plan,
perhaps
like one proposed by Andrew F. Krepinevich Jr., a leading writer on
military
strategy: find the most secure areas with capable Iraqi forces. Embed
American trainers with those forces and make the region safe enough to
spend
money on reconstruction, thus making friends and draining the
insurgency.
Then slowly expand those zones and withdraw American forces.

Americans have been clamoring for believable goals in Iraq, but Mr. Bush

stuck to his notion of staying until "total victory." His strategy
document
defines that as an Iraq that "has defeated the terrorists and
neutralized
the insurgency"; is "peaceful, united, stable, democratic and secure";
and
is a partner in the war on terror, an integral part of the international

community, and "an engine for regional economic growth and proving the
fruits of democratic governance to the region."

That may be the most grandiose set of ambitions for the region since the

vision of Nebuchadnezzar's son Belshazzar, who saw the hand writing on
the
wall. Mr. Bush hates comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq. But after
watching the president, we couldn't resist reading Richard Nixon's 1969
Vietnamization speech. Substitute the Iraqi constitutional process for
the
Paris peace talks, and Mr. Bush's ideas about the Iraqi Army are not
much
different from Nixon's plans - except Nixon admitted the war was going
very
badly (which was easier for him to do because he didn't start it), and
he
was very clear about the risks and huge sacrifices ahead.

A president who seems less in touch with reality than Richard Nixon
needs to
get out more.

Gayle in MD
12-02-2005, 05:19 AM
Thanks for posting this. It's an excellent article. Also, I saw a documentary last night of Thomas Freidman's, and he traveled to Europe to interview students regarding the question of how Bush's policies have affected the European views on America. Most see Bush as more threatening than bL due to his occupation and pre-emptive policies. Also, they do not support the war, and think that America has lost stature around the world. The infomation regarding the economic coalition of the European Nations was sobering to say the least. One wonders how we will ever recover enough to remain a world power given the Reagan and Bush policies which have undermined our Union workers rights, and driven out manufacturing, and the outsourcing of American Jobs, not to mention our beleaguered armed forces.

Lou Dobbs has written a book entitled, "The Our-sourcing Of America" It's an eye opener for sure.

Thanks again for the post....I missed this somehow.

Gayle in Md.

HiPockets
12-02-2005, 06:12 AM
Gayle, you are welcome. I voted for him twice as they said in Master and Commander "the lesser of two weevils". I am fed up with both parties. The far right and the far left remind me of the same people. Extremeist! When and if we build the wall on the Mexican border I think we should extend it around Washinton D.C. and put razor wire on top to keep the politicians from infesting the rest of the U.S.

Gayle in MD
12-02-2005, 07:02 AM
LOL, nice idea! Unfortunately, when I vote, it is usually a vote against someone, rather than for someone. I am usually disappointed in the options.

Gayle in Md.

pooltchr
12-02-2005, 07:08 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Gayle in MD:</font><hr> LOL, nice idea! Unfortunately, when I vote, it is usually a vote against someone, rather than for someone. I am usually disappointed in the options.

Gayle in Md. <hr /></blockquote>

How sad to be so negative that you can't find something to be in favor of, so you vote against the worst possibility.