The level of non-information is laughable. What’s the point if you’re just going to spew a lot of buzzwords and useless adjectives? The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza is termed “a courageous and painful step,” and Sharon is described as “bold.” That's like calling coffee hot. The droning, formal tone in these messages lulls the audience into a hypnotic non-thinking state, where you accept what is being told to you, not because it's true, but because nothing is really being said. Appearances do have to be maintained, after all.
The appearance being that Bush's foreign policy, especially when it comes to Iraq, is right and working, and of course neither is correct. The "wrongness" in started this unneccesary war with Iraq will be obvious in years to come, if it's not already. Hussein had no WMD, didn't plot or support Al Qaeda, but he presented a strategically convenient target. (If he were a more benevolent ruler who didn't openly despise the Bush family, I wonder if it wouldn't have been so easy to take him out.)
The fact that his policy isn't working can not only be seen in the casualty rates--which haven't been falling, for either US military personell or Iraqis-- but in the contentious process that Iraqis are going through to get a constitution. Don't believe me?
Take a look at the latest reporting. The Washington Post quotes a Sunni leader:
"The chances of bringing Sunni Arabs to the political process are almost lost," said Salih Mutlak, the most vocal and publicly unyielding of the Sunnis involved in talks on the constitution. "The Sunni Arabs will suffer a lot, unfortunately. Everybody in Iraq is going to suffer from this."
That contrasts starkly with Bush's boundless optimism.
The post article also hints at the beginnings of a civil war, made easier by everyone's favorite terrorist:
In Qaim, near the Syrian border, at least 35 people were killed in mortar, rocket and small-arms battles between a local tribe allied with Abu Musab Zarqawi's insurgent group, which has vowed to kill anyone who takes part in elections, and a rival tribe that has worked with the local government, said tribal leaders and hospital officials.
In Dawr, another mostly Sunni city north of Baghdad, bombers blew up a mosque that the Iraqi Islamic Party was using as headquarters and badly damaged a school serving as a voter-registration center, party and school officials said.
This is muslim-on-muslim violence revolving around the shape and scope of the new Iraqi government. Just remember that when Bush conjures images of 9-11 and Osama Bin Laden to make the flock go "ooh" and "aah." It's not about killing Americans or hating our freedoms. It's not about fighting the terrorists over there so we don't fight them here. It's about figuring out whether we helped or hurt the Iraqis by liberating them from Saddam, and the jury is still out on that one.
Eleanor Clift has a great piece in Newsweek, which you can read on MSNBC here. It brings up a point that isn't discussed much, Bush's coziness with the Saudis and his apparent hypocrisy when it comes to waging his "War on Terror." Iraq gets invaded, but the king of Saudi Arabia gets invited down to the ranch. Makes sense when you think about it, right?
When the phenomenon of suicide bombers first surfaced in the 1980’s, it was confined to three or four countries and fewer than a half dozen groups. It has spread to 25 countries with some 35 sponsoring groups. Eighty-one percent of the attacks have occurred since 9/11, raising questions about whether U.S. policies have helped transform suicide terrorism from an aberration and an isolated fear into something that is sickenly commonplace. For every bomber lost, twelve more can be recruited, Dr. Bloom noted. These are portrayed as acts of desperation by angry, frustrated, mostly young men, but they are an instrument of war and require planning and surveillance along with a sufficient pool of people to be cannon fodder. We are not like Europe, which has a large underclass of disaffected Muslims, “Pakistanis in America become IT professionals and dentists, they don’t become Jihadists,” said Dr. Bloom.
Who are the suicide bombers? The answer shouldn’t surprise you. Just as Saudi young men were 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/ll, Saudi nationals are behind 75 to 80 percent of the attacks in Iraq by foreign fighters-and 90 percent of the attacks in Iraq are not perpetrated by Iraqis. A survey of Jihadist Web sites culled hundreds of names of Saudi suicide bombers, many with a phone number where you can call to congratulate the family. The Bush administration hasn’t done enough to crack down on the Saudis, who continue to “export” terrorism, says Bloom. The Saudis refuse to control their borders, and jihadists travel unimpeded to Syria or Turkey and then into Iraq. Saudi nationals are the most sought-after recruits because they have money. There’s a lot of wealth in the royal family and some of it is funding terrorism. There are 35,000 people in the extended family, and they don’t all get invited to Crawford, Texas to hold hands with Bush the way King Abdullah did earlier this year.
Is it possible that President Bush himself is undermining the "War on Terror?" Put that one in the definitely maybe category.
Next post, I promise won't be about Bush or the war. I'm this close to finishing Olympos, Dan Simmons's latest SF epic, so I think some good ole fashioned literary critism will be on deck. (Considering the scope of Ilium/Olympos, that should push Bush off the schedule.)
Plus I have a very sad story to tell you...