Thursday, September 13, 2007

waiting for the other shoe to fly

President and Warlord George W. Bush will be using up valuable airtime tonight to tell the American people that he, Bush, has “decided” to “accept” the “advice” of Gen. David Petraeus, as presented in the report that, well, um, in a report that was drafted by the President’s staff. (We know that the General was lying when he said that the report was his and that he did not share a draft with anyone. He may have briefed the President without handing him a piece of paper—a plausible deniability ploy that was leaked last week—but it was reported that Petraeus had to undergo “murder boards” last weekend to prepare him for congressional questioning. You can’t very well do a mock Q&A if the questioners don’t know what they are questioning, so somebody saw drafts of that testimony. Thus, from the very first sentence in his testimony, Gen. Petraeus was lying. He then went on to make assertions about the declining numbers of Iraqi casualties without giving a source for the data. It can’t be the US military, since the Pentagon has made a very public point about how they don’t collect that sort of data—so, where did those numbers come from? Those that do collect this sort of data say that such casualties are up since this escalation began, so, is Petraeus just making this up? We could also call that lying. Gosh, this could have been a post all by itself. . . . Uh, where was I?)

The President will go on TV to tell us that he’s taking his own advice. (There, that’s more succinct.)

Of course, that’s not actually true, either. There’s no advice to take. This “withdrawal”—this new new new way forward—is, of course, not really a withdrawal at all. It’s simply troops coming home while not having anyone available to replace them. And this new new new way is more of the same ol’ same ol’.

Anyway, come evening, I am fully prepared to be throwing things at my television. . . no, not because Bush will be talking smack. . . again. . . at this point, that guy isn’t worth damaging my TV. . . hell, he ain’t
even worth the mangy Chuck Taylor that I might, uh, chuck. No, I think that I am going to be throwing things after the president speaks. It is then, I expect, that establishment journalists and the pundit class will just parrot the Patraeus/Bush talking points; never bothering to really do the research and report on the utter failure of the Bush escalation, or the fact that the current troop levels are unsustainable, and that come summer, we will just be back to “stay the course” numbers.

Nor, do I expect many on TV to ask the real question: What are we in Iraq for? Every single stated reason for invading Iraq has been debunked. Every single goal of this “surge”—as outlined by the president himself—has been left unmet. Every single measure has shown the war to be a failure. Even Petraeus himself doesn’t believe that Bush’s “strategy” for Iraq will make America safer.

So why do more and more troops have to die?

I’m not expecting anyone to ask that one.

Instead, I do expect the talking heads to paint this as a partisan battle between Democrats and Republicans. I expect to hear something about how the ideologues in both parties—I'm counting on hearing the term “radical anti-war left”—are fighting over Iraq as if it were nothing more than a political football while “serious” people try to find some middle ground.

Of course, Iraq is no political football. . . well, let me correct myself there, it probably is for many in the White House and in the minority party—it’s really all about domestic politics for them—but for me, and for many who care, Iraq is about people dying everyday. . . for no good reason.

And, of course, the real “middle ground” on Iraq is to begin to withdraw, really withdraw, troops now, and get them all out by the end of Bush’s term in office. That’s the position held by over two-thirds of Americans; that’s what I would call consensus.

But, I’m not sure I will hear much about that, either.

No, I expect that this speech will be placed in the context of a pissing match. “Who’s winning—Democrats or Republicans?” That’s what I expect.

I am prepared to be surprised, but if not, I think I can spare a shoe or two.

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