Tuesday, November 29, 2005

From today's "The Poor Man"

But he’s cutting and running resolutely!

Good news! We’re finally fucking leaving:

Brace yourself for a mind-bog of sheer cynicism. The discombobulation begins Wednesday, when President George W. Bush is expected to proclaim, in a major speech at the U.S. Naval Academy, that the Iraqi security forces—which only a few months ago were said to have just one battalion capable of fighting on its own—have suddenly made uncanny progress in combat readiness. Expect soon after (if not during the speech itself) the thing that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have, just this month, denounced as near-treason—a timetable for withdrawal of American troops.

And so it appears (assuming the forecasts about the speech are true) that the White House is as cynical about this war as its cynical critics have charged it with being. For several months now, many of these critics have predicted that, once the Iraqis passed their constitution and elected a new government, President Bush would declare his mission complete and begin to pull out—this, despite his public pledge to “stay the course” until the insurgents were defeated.

This theory explains Bush’s insistence that the Iraqis draft and ratify the constitution on schedule—even though the rush resulted in a seriously flawed document that’s more likely to fracture the country than to unite it. For if the pullout can get under way in the opening weeks of 2006, then the war might be nullified as an issue by the time of our own elections.

Politics is a cynical business. Clinton was always criticized (by the media) for doing whatever the polls dictated, and while people didn’t exactly love him for it, they sure liked him. Worst President Ever, of course, makes a great point of not caring about what the polls say - a posture that polls very well - but Texas isn’t big enough to hold the focus group-approved prop ranch it would take to overcome the reality of the situation in Iraq - a reality that has unimpeachable Hero of Democracy and Our Man In Baghdad (Who Isn’t Named Ahmed), Iyad Allawi, proclaiming the US to be a worse human rights abuser than Saddam, and the semi-democratically elected leaders of Iraq telling us to leave and declaring attacks on US soldiers “legitimate”. So the war is unpopular, the war is destroying our military, the people we came to liberate hate us, and so, and not a moment too soon, we are about to declare victory and leave. Yes, it is a cynical flip-flop. (Pity the jingos!) It’s also the right move, if overdue. Worst President Ever would do well to do a bit more following, because this whole “leading” thing isn’t really his strong suit.

This is relatively good news for the US, because it lets us begin our disentanglement from this obscenely costly and pointless war. The bed is still as shit-en as ever, of course, but perhaps this might air out the room a bit. I suspect it’s not especially good for Iraqis, particularly Sunni Iraqis, who will now be subject to the tender mercies of American bomb strikes controlled by Shiite and Kurdish troops. But it is really, really, really unreservedly excellent news if you are a hard-line Iranian ayatollah, because now that the Great Satan and Saddam have knocked each other out, the Revolution can finally spread westward to the oil fields of Iraq. And that’ll buy a whole bunch of Pakistani nuclear scientists.


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