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radfringe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 03:23 AM
Original message
Edited on Tue May-25-04 04:05 AM by radfringe
The president continues to hope for the best in Iraq without planning for the worst, imagining a democracy that may take decades to build
May 25, 2004

Anyone who had hoped to hear something new - or even to hear that the administration finally understands just how badly things are going in Iraq - had to be disappointed by President George W. Bush's speech last night. It was more of the same: Stay the course. Fight the terrorists. Bring freedom to the Iraqis.

Unfortunately, the five-point plan that the president outlined for bringing self-government to Iraq is more of a wish list than a plan. And the inherent contradiction in what he is trying to do was evident in his first two points.

The first step, said Bush, is to grant Iraq "full sovereignty" on June 30. The second step is to bring security and stability to the country by keeping a force of 138,000 American troops there for an unspecified amount of time.

Clearly, the Iraqis will not have "full sovereignty" if they don't control their own security and 138,000 American troops are there with no sense of how long they must stay.


The central problem in Bush's approach to Iraq from the beginning has been a tendency to believe the best would happen and not plan for the worst. This president doesn't want to give bad news or admit any mistakes. But the American people are losing confidence in his judgment about Iraq. They deserved a more forthright assessment than they received last night, even given his warnings of more violence there.

A stable and eventually democratic Iraq is in this nation's interest. Nobody should want Bush to fail. The consequences of chaos in Iraq are too frightening. But nothing Bush said last night gives us confidence that his administration knows what it's doing there - other than keeping its fingers crossed until Election Day.
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radfringe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 04:05 AM
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1. Bush's vision of Iraq vs reality
Bush's vision of Iraq vs reality
By Ehsan Ahrari

US President George W Bush has started a media blitz that began on Monday evening at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, which served as a highly conservative and patriotic forum for his purpose. He is expected to make a number of such appearances, in which he will attempt to underscore the positives regarding the US presence in Iraq at a time when things are not at all going well. The purpose of this first speech was to tell the American people that his plans for Iraq are on track.

While Bush was trying to score popularity points with the American people, the United Nations was considering a US-United Kingdom draft resolution on the future of Iraq. That reality in itself stood out like a sore thumb. Here was the US president who committed his country to a war of choice in Iraq, without the blessing of the UN. Here was the US president, who only in September 2002 admonished the world body to act according to his wishes regarding Iraq or face the danger of becoming irrelevant. However, on Monday evening, under the presidency of Bush, the United States was waiting for the world body to endorse a resolution on the future of Iraq. Another important purpose of that proposed resolution is to legitimize the US forces' presence in that country after June 30. Germany, France and Russia are expected to study the draft carefully and offer suitable revisions.

The second irony of the situation is that, despite its global significance, the world body's endorsement of any resolution is not going to make Iraq either a stable or a peaceful place. The deteriorated nature of the security situation in Iraq is epitomized by the fact that the UN, notwithstanding its significance as a legitimate entity, could not legitimize any future government in Iraq, especially if that government remains affiliated in any way with the US. At the same time, as powerful as America's force presence has been in Iraq, it has not been able to stabilize the country.


All this is waiting to happen, while Bush desperately tries to convince Americans, world opinion, and the Iraqis that he is on the right track. He has decided to tear down the infamous Abu Ghraib prison and build a new one. However, that prison will forever linger on in the memory of the Iraqis and in history books, not only as a symbol of brutality under Saddam, but also as a place where Iraqi nationhood was humiliated under US occupation.

Bush promises to offer Iraq full sovereignty on June 30. Yet even US media pundits have openly expressed their disbelief. It is too early to know whether the American people believe their president. World opinion is highly skeptical of anything Bush has to say about Iraq. What about the Iraqis? Well, they were sound asleep when he was making that speech in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Perhaps that reality also signifies the fact that even after getting rid of the rule of a brutal dictator, the Iraqis still have no say about their own future. They might just as well be sleeping.

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