I’m the escalator, mistakes were made….. Iraq can’t keep calling 9-11

bush speech
I’m guessing all the regular readers and contributors listened to the President’s speech tonight, and I would suppose that we all share similar views. I think it’s important to discuss some of the highlights.

Here’s my take……

1– Watching the speech, my first impression was that it was about 2 years too late. If, in early 2004, Bush came out and said, “Mistakes have been made in Iraq, and I take full responsibility for them. Yes, I listen to the military commanders, but ultimately I’m the commander in chief, and I am responsible for the execution of war in this country. That being said, the fight in Iraq is vital to our national security, and in order to win that fight, I propose the following……”, if he had said that, someone might have listened to him, some may have actually believed him. The problem now is, he has lost nearly all of his credibility. Prior to the speech, recent polling showed only 12% support for increasing troops in Iraq. The country no longer believes him, and that is unfortunate because there are kernels of truth in what he is saying.

2– I thought Dick Durbin’s response was excellent. The nationalistic, America First, message was a classic conservative talking point used in prior wars, but never as appropriately as it was used tonight. His message encapsulated the average American’s opinion of Iraqis and the Iraq war– we have done a lot: we have captured and killed Saddam, we helped you draft a constitution, we helped you have several elections, and we have helped you form an unity government. We have sacrificed hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives. The time has come for you to take responsibility for your own actions and for your own political futures– if you are not willing to reach political reconciliation, we cannot help you forever.

3– Back to a kernel or two of truth. Anyone who has read The Looming Tower knows that Al Qaeda is deadly serious about it’s mission. They are heartless, ruthless, delusional killers who want nothing more than to see us fail worldwide, and who want nothing more than to see our interest hurt around the world. If they could, they would kill as many americans and moderates as possible, and they wouldn’t think twice about it. If it is in fact true that Al Qaeda is looking to turn Anbar province into its new enclave, we should do everything in our power to destroy them. Again, the problem is, who knows what’s true and what’s bullsh*t from the President. If there are Al Qaeda elements building in Anbar, we should destroy them. If there really were Al Qaeda elements in Somalia, we should have attacked them. Who knows if there really are terrorists in either location. We simply can’t trust anything this President says anymore on these issues, and that’s a shame.

4– The most important part of this speech may have been the announcement of a carrier group moving into the region, specifically to serve notice to Iran and Syria that we will do everything in our power to disrupt the networks being used by “terrorists” to support their insurgent efforts in Iraq. Again, if true, it’s certainly in our national interest to do so, but did he just signify a possible escalation of the conflict in Iraq to a regional conflict? We may be headed for disaster in the region as we further expect our brave men and women to take on other challenges they are not equipped for.

5– The political benchmarks in the speech outlined by Bush for Maliki were exactly the type of thing being discussed in 2004 and 2005, and were ridiculed by Bush et al. Again, 2 years at least too late…..

6– 20,000 troops is not enough. 200,000 probably wouldn’t be enough…… We’re sending these kids into an urban war where they will not be able to tell who the bad guys are, where snipers will pick them off like target practice, and where we will have to serve as the referees for a sectarian conflict that is over 1000 years old. For the sake of comparison, there are 45,000 police officers on patrol daily in NYC……

I’m anxious to hear others’ thoughts….

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5 Responses to I’m the escalator, mistakes were made….. Iraq can’t keep calling 9-11

  1. johncos says:

    reading my post above yours, i think its obvious that you reacted for more sensibly and with your head while I reacted with my heart to the speech. I think Durbin’s response was excellent and the only thing it left me thinking was…why wait until now? These thoughts were on others minds for months before this.

    General Shinseki wanted 400,000 troops, Gen Abizaid said 20,000 was not enough…of course this escalation (which doesn’t add troops so much as prolong stays) isn’t enough to help.

    I don’t see the “goals” being accomplished within the year. This speech to me became less of an explanation about what was the thought process and more of a warning that 2007 is going to be a bloody year.

  2. fnades says:

    The problem is, as you state, “Anyone who has read The Looming Tower knows that Al Qaeda is deadly serious about it’s mission. They are heartless, ruthless, delusional killers who want nothing more than to see us fail worldwide, and who want nothing more than to see our interest hurt around the world. If they could, they would kill as many americans and moderates as possible, and they wouldn’t think twice about it. If it is in fact true that Al Qaeda is looking to turn Anbar province into its new enclave, we should do everything in our power to destroy them. Again, the problem is, who knows what’s true and what’s bullsh*t from the President. If there are Al Qaeda elements building in Anbar, we should destroy them. If there really were Al Qaeda elements in Somalia, we should have attacked them. Who knows if there really are terrorists in either location. We simply can’t trust anything this President says anymore on these issues, and that’s a shame.”

    There is almost no way to recover from a loss of confidence like the President has brought upon himself. And, there is no way that the army and marines, at current force levels can accomplish this “new’ mission. Unfortunately there are not another 200,000 combat troops available. Maybe if there were, then this “misssion” could be accomplish, but there aren’t. Durbin is correct… too few to win, too many additional targets.

    There are times when there is NO good solution to a problem. Nobody could put Humpty Dumpty back together again. And nobody will put Iraq back together again. In my mind, the only solution is the one proposed by Senator Biden, namely divide the country into three seperate states loosly federated. Most of the ethnic cleaning has been done already, and this may be the only way to control this 1400 year conflict. Then, we must step back, but maintain the ability to step in again, if in fact al Qaeda tries to take over Anbar.

    I believe that the real purpose of the speech and the “plan” was to buy more time, to kick the problem down the road to 2008 and leave it to another American President to suffer the inevitable “defeat.” And, if the democratic Congess stops the troop builup, then of course, the “defeat” is the fault of the “democtrat defeatocrats.”

  3. askewed says:

    No one can say they were surprised when he announced he’d be doing the wrong thing… I think debating that is a waste of time.

    And I don’t much mind the lying, it’s expected. What I mind is the lack of flair the lies have. In the good ole’ days they went to some trouble. Put Colin Powell on television and gave him some visual aids… effort was put forth. Rice splitting hairs as to weather or not Richard Clarke’s memo was a memo or a sheet of paper with bullet points… that’s inspired bullshit! That’s caring. Not caring enough to do the right thing but caring none the less. Minus the effort the lies become insults to my intelligence and not just the anticipated deception. (and if you saw how I first spelled ‘deception’ you’d know my intelligence is tough to insult)

    The image he conjurs up is insulting, he makes it sound like the set of a 1953 western. Don’t fret none because I’m going to send 20,000 more troops to stay behind and mind the sheriffs office after we clean up Dodge. As if that’s the only place the pla failed. They’ll play pinoccle with the locals and when we’re done the Chinamen will finish the railroad and that’ll be that. That air of “don’t give this another thought… it’s all taken care of” is nauseating. That bothers me.

    He knows it’s a mess. He knows we know it’s a mess. But to stop caring enough to lie about it, that’s more frightening then you may realize. With 737 days left in his term I’d at least like to be lied to in a convincing manner by a man committed to his lie. Becasue that apathetic shit he was peddiling is just too sad to bear for 737 days. Doing the wrong thing… I expect. Doing it for a reason he won’t divulge… expect. Doing it with no regard for life… expect. But not having enough left in the tank to lie about it… count me as disappointed.

    I hope the next one is bright… If the next guy has a decent command of the language and even just seems presidential a little I may not care what team he’s on. That we can’t sit here today (after everything that’s happened) and say with some degree of certainty that a Dem will be president in 2008 speaks volumes about the state of the party.

    Too worried about being right not worried enough about winning.

  4. anoodle says:

    great post. Absolutely fantastic…..

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