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Thursday, December 15, 2005


Yesterday, President George W. Bush delivered his fourth and final speech designed to define the U.S. "Plan for Victory" in Iraq. As usual, listening to Bush speak left my head swirling in a vortex of confusion, frustration and general disbelief (this man was elected President of my country? Twice?), but yesterday's speech gave me something new, something unfamiliar, a feeling of dare I say, conciliation towards the President. Shudders ripple through my bones. Let me explain.

The Bush of these four speeches is a man reaching out. Granted, he's a man with no arms, but nevertheless, one that's trying to reconnect with a public that has turned on him, and viciously so. So what if Stumpy here is only admitting his mistakes once the love affair is over and the newly minted ex-girlfriend is shutting the car door and starting the engine. He is to be commended for doing what, among many others, I have been waiting for him to do since that initial round of looting took place in Iraq after U.S. forces took Baghdad. First, he admitted that pre-war intelligence regarding Sadaam's possession of weapons of mass destruction was wrong, and then he took responsibility for basing his decision to go war on that same faulty intelligence.

He did. I swear. I saw it on the TV.

This, for me, was a moment of great personal hope, a moment that unfortunately lasted as long as it took for Dubya to take a breath and deliver three more sentences.

In other words, the intelligence turned out to be wrong, but even if I'd known that, I still would have invaded Iraq.

Hang on. That's an admission that all the way back in 2002 and early 2003 when all that wrangling over U.N. resolutions was taking place, the validity of the WMD threat was irrelevant to Bush's ultimate commitment to go to war. And worse, Bush knew it at the time. That supports accusations that he made up his mind much, much earlier than he admits. To me, that basically makes him an imperialist who feels totally justified in picking off governments he doesn't like.

How's my conciliation going? Not well, I know. The olive branch is withering in my hand.

As for the current situation, let's review the President's "thinking" on why we're in Iraq today:

  • On September 11, 2001, terrorism became the #1 threat facing the United States.

  • The insurgents in Iraq are trying to take advantage of the instability there (weak government, weak security) so that they can use Iraq as a base from which to plot and launch attacks against on U.S. soil.
  • The presence of the insurgency makes Iraq the central front on the war on terror.
  • We can't leave until the Iraqis are capable of preventing the insurgents from making Iraq a terrorist base of operations.

See that space between points one and two? That's a big, gaping hole in Dubya's logic. The reason for the instability in Iraq is that we went there in the first place. Say what you want about Sadaam, but the link between his regime and the kind of international terrorism that nailed us on 9/11 has never been satisfactorily proven. bin Laden once tried to contact Sadaam back in 90s but got blown off, remember? By saying that regardless of the validity of the WMD threat he would have gone in anyway, Bush is only left with the threat of terrorism theory as justification for the invasion. Not only was the fake threat (WMD) not real, the real threat (terrorism) wasn't real either. Someone needs to tell Dubya that there are plenty of opportunities for him to make an ass of himself; he needn't go looking for more.

So, imagine this. You're in a car driving on a mountain pass. You have a passenger, a trusted friend sitting next to you. The vista that stretches out over the cliff to your right is breathtaking. You're coming around a bend when you see another car in the oncoming lane. "LOOK OUT!" your passenger screams, causing you to swerve off the road, over the cliff and down the mountain side, eventually reaching the bottom where your crumpled vehicle comes to rest upside down. Bloodied and dazed but still alive you turn to your passenger who, too, barely clings to life and ask, "Why did you scream? The car was in the other lane. I wouldn't have hit it."

"I know but I thought it might turn into our lane. I'm so sorry. I was wrong and now we're going to die."

"That's OK," you say with your last breath. "I was going to drive off the cliff anyway."


In response to critics who say that the U.S. presence in Iraq makes America less secure, Bush said,

Perhaps we need to remind Dubya of the terrorist attacks in Riyadh, Amman, Madrid, and London, all of which took place after the war began on March 20, 2003. The innocent victims of these attacks may not have been American people, but they were people just the same.



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