One aspect of last
week’s Bush press conference that seems to have gone unnoticed is the fact
that, more than 4 years after he invaded and occupied Iraq, using our forces
(and even more mercenaries), he still doesn’t have a plan, nor does he
understand what’s happening, or why?
my speech, I made it clear that there has to be a change in security for there
to be reconciliation. And I also said that progress will yield fewer troops. In
other words, return on success, is what I said.
(Of course, he
stuttered and stammered trying to remember the exact talking point, but I
are two types of reconciliation, David. One is that reconciliation, that very
visible reconciliation that happens through the passage of law. In other words,
it’s reconciliation that shows the Iraqi people that people from different
backgrounds can get along and, at the same time, that government can function.
Clearly there needs to be work there. In other words, there needs to be the
passage of law. For example, we strongly believe that an oil revenue-sharing
law will send a message to Sunni, Shia and Kurd alike that there is an effort
at the national level to achieve reconciliation.
No one noticed this?
So, according to this foreign policy genius, 1400 years of fighting between
various ethnic groups can be settled — even a little — by oil money?
This gives you an
insight as to why we’re in Iraq in the first place. It’s not to
"liberate" anyone, or to find weapons of mass destruction. It’s not
even about oil, exactly. It’s all about money! That Bush thinks that an
internecine conflict that is centuries old can even begin to be settled with
money tells us a lot about him and his cronies.
He really doesn’t
understand what’s happening over there, and why so many of us were saying
before the invasion, that a full-fledged functioning capitalist democracy in
Iraq is simply not possible. As much as many people are desperately grasping at
Sen. Joe Biden’s plan of splitting the country into three and placing a central
government in Baghdad, that plan is also a pipe dream.
What’s happening in
Iraq is the result of meddling. For centuries, one colonial power after another
went into Mesopotamia (and the entire region, for that matter) and shaped it
into their own image. The last version of that resulted in Iraq; a wholly manufactured
country, cobbled together by nations who wanted to split the oil, and damn the
consequences. The result has been a series of dictatorships and "royal
families," appointed by the West, which has kept the bubbling "civil
war" under control. It’s a war that’s been simmering for centuries; it’s
not going to go away just because Bush thinks he can force them into a
democracy, and that well, gosh, democracies all work so well, don’t they? Plus,
we all of those troops and overpaid mercenaries over there; that should keep
them all in line, right?
Having been conquered
by the Romans, then the Holy Roman Empire and then the Ottomans, and finally by
modern western powers who wanted the oil, why would anyone with half a brain
think that anything like a free democratic society would simply "take hold"
and flourish? Their civil war has been put on hold for centuries, and continues
to simmer under the surface; why would anyone think that invading a country, an
forcing it to democratize would work in such a region. Relatively benevolent
dictatorships have worked in the past, by using force to keep the uprisings
down, and by handing the people a reasonable amount of what they need. Remove
that, and ethnic groups will have to fight things out themselves, and fin their
equilibrium on their own.
In other words, if we
want Iraq to be "free," we have to allow them to fight it out, and we
have to accept the fact that it will be bloody. Of course, like I said; this
has never been about "liberation," anyway. It’s about money.
Remember when Bush was
running for president? During the second debate with Gore, he said, "I
don’t think our troops ought to be used for what’s called
Think of that as you
read the next part of his response to David Gregory;
said that, however, there is a functioning government. And the reason I bring
— I guess my point is this, that in spite of the fact they haven’t passed a
law, there is the sharing of oil revenues on a relatively equitable basis. The
other — and so we’ll continue to work with the government to insist and
impress upon them the need for there to be the passage of law, whether it be
provincial election laws or de-Baathification law or the oil law.
That is wrong on so
many levels, it’s difficult to know where to start…
First off, he’s
apparently the only one anywhere who thinks the current government of Iraq is
"functioning." They have absolutely no power outside of Baghdad, and
they never pass laws that have any effect on anyone.
Second, despite the
fact that there is no law, there is a sharing of oil revenue. Wait! Didn’t he
just say that sharing oil revenues would lead to reconciliation? So, it’s not
the actual sharing of the revenues that’s the key; it’s the magical "passing
of the law" that will work so well. Goodness knows, it’s sure worked here;
the Bushies obey every law as if… um… as if it didn’t apply to them.
But notice the last
part of that; we’re "insist(ing)" they pass certain laws that we
think they need? So much for the nation-building prohibition, huh?
is local reconciliation taking place. I had a fascinating conversation in the
Roosevelt Room earlier this week with members of provincial reconstruction
teams from around Iraq who talked about how people are sick and tired of murder
and violence, and that they expect their local governments and their central
government to be more responsive to their needs, and local governments are
beginning to respond.
of the reason why there is not this instant democracy in Iraq is because people
are still recovering from Saddam Hussein’s brutal rule. I thought an
interesting comment was made when somebody said to me, I heard somebody say,
where’s Mandela? Well, Mandela is dead, because Saddam Hussein killed all the
Mandelas. He was a brutal tyrant that divided people up and split families, and
people are recovering from this. So there’s a psychological recovery that is
taking place. And it’s hard work for them. And I understand it’s hard work for
them. Having said that, I’m not going the give them a pass when it comes to the
central government’s reconciliation efforts.
Yeah, I know; he
screwed up the line. Mandela’s not dead. He meant the Mandelas who might show
up in Iraq to lead them from their oppression have all been killed. Which is,
of course, ludicrous on its face, although most "journalists" simply
focus on the botched talking point.
Nelson Mandela did not
free the South African blacks. The white South African government did. And they
did so because of pressure from the people inside and outside South Africa. But
while Mandela was undoubtedly a great man, had he died in prison he still would
have led his people out of oppression.
But the situation was
entirely different. George Bush put himself up as the "Mandela" of
Iraq. He decided what was needed to "liberate" the Iraqi people from
the tyranny of the Saddam Hussein regime. Darth Cheney, before the war, even
claimed that the United States would be "greeted as liberators" by
the Iraqi people. So, isn’t George Bush
supposed to be the "Nelson Mandela" for Iraqis?
Of course, the
invasion was not fully planned, an the execution of the occupation has been an
unmitigated disaster, so perhaps what he means is, he’s waiting for a
"Mandela-type" to save Iraq from George W. Bush. Not likely, since 4
million refugees — including many of those with the means to make a living
abroad, and thus, the leadership skills to bring Iraq out of the dark ages —
are no longer in Iraq.
also said in my speech, local politics will drive national politics. And I
believe that. I believe that as more reconciliation takes place at the local
level you’ll see a more responsive central government.
Of course, there’s a
major problem with this idea.
In most cases, the
"local level reconciliation" that has occurred (and there has been
some) has consisted of an "ethnic cleansing" of a region, and the
domination of one ethnic group over another. In other words, no reconciliation
at all. Essentially, Bush’s "whack-a-mole" strategy has resulted in
cleaning up one area, only to have "insurgents" (if you have no
actual government, is it possible to have insurgents?) move to the next place
and start trouble there. When the US moves into the next place, the
"insurgents move elsewhere. And on and on and on…
Four and a half years,
nearly 4,000 US troop lives, nearly 25,000 US casualties, approximately 500,000
Iraqi civilian deaths, almost a million Iraqi casualties, and 4 million refugees later, and the Bushies are still
hanging onto rainbows for their hopes of a beautiful, violence-free Iraq.
This will not end
until Bush is out of office. Period. That should be the only goal; to remove
Bush and Cheney as soon as possible and give President Pelosi the power to
order everyone home. It’s our only chance to save lives…