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December 17, 2006


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At least Westmoreland had the good sense to realise that it would take hundreds of thousands not tens of thousands of troops to stabilize the situation and then win the war in Vietnam. Whether he was right or not, we will never know. But there is one thing of which I am certain; 20,000 to 30,000 troops is not a ‘surge.’ Heck 30,000 troops would hardly fill a football stadium.

Therein lies the problem, it mystifies me (I have always subscribed to the notion that Bush is a true believer) but it appears that this administration was never really serious about winning the war in Iraq. From day one they did not provide enough troops for the occupation, they never planned for the transition (they seemed to think that it would magically happen), and they never planned on funding the war properly.

Condi Rice gave an interview at the Washington Post today. It is clear that she believes that Baker got it wrong because the old ‘center’ of the Middle East can no longer hold. I happen to agree with her on that point. But what will replace it; that is the question? There is much talk these days of the parallel between Bush and Truman. If the stakes were not so high and the tragedy of the day so great I would let go a heart felt laugh regarding the notion of Bush as a latter day Truman. Truman was a man of vision and integrity, he was a man who believed in freedom and justice – but most of all – he was an adult with a plan and not a little boy with a hankering for a fight. Bush seems to have no plan other than to hope that pro-American democracy in the Middle East will grow like weed from the ashes of Iraq.

I have asked this question over and over again (no one has answered it for me to-date). Where is Bush’s democratic center in the Middle East? Why are we defending the agents of Iran in the Green Zone? Why are American’s dying to advance the cause of Iran across the Middle East? How will this mess lead to stable western style democracy in Iraq or in the region? All you ever get out of this administration is platitudes; ‘’stay the course, finish the job, only withdrawal will bring defeat.”

As for Bush, I am not surprized in the least that he has totally rejected recommendations that do not conform to his world view. His reaction to the ISG report is no less than I expected. You have to remember that the neo-cons firmly believe that we lost Vietnam in the streets of America and not in the jungles of Southeast Asia. If only we stayed a little longer, if only we had added a few more troops, if only the politicians hadn’t tied the hands of our troops...

Why do you think that Bush the ‘defender of freedom’ is so willing to countenance torture and trample on cherished republican traditions? The answer, because these people really don’t believe in a political ideal they believe in America the state; America the virtuous. In their eyes, any action to defend America is justified by the end. In there eyes, America will win because it is a force of good. It mystifies them that the people of the Middle East have not rallied around the ‘good guys.’ They think that if they try only a little bit harder, if they stiffen the backbone of Maliki, if they build a few more water systems and power stations that the people will rally around. And why wouldn’t they; we are the good guys, aren’t we? Yes indeed, so why haven’t they rallied around to the side of the good guys? As Bush keeps wishing; ‘the Iraqi people voted for democracy;’ didn’t they? Well, in fact, they didn’t. The Iraqis voted along sectarian lines and overwhelmingly voted for extremist parties.

So will someone please explain to me again how 30,000 more troops are going to turn Iraqis into freedom loving Americans? I am sure their is a sensible answer to that question. I guess I am just too stupid to see it.

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