Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Bush Speech Surprise: We're Pulling Out of Iraq

Ha ha ha, no, just kidding. THAT would require conceptual thinking and flexibility that this president is sorely lacking.

No, instead, we were presented with a President who STILL can't truly admit errors of his own making.

Astonishingly, President Bush did acknowledge that a mistake was made when a military buildup wasn't ordered last year, back when it could have done some good. What Bush DIDN'T admit was that HE was the guy who made that decision, instead twisting history to seem as if someone else, some rogue element long since fired (coughcoughRumsfeldcough) was the individual who had made any mistakes. Bush's comment? "Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me."

That's a far cry from "The Buck Stops Here." In fact it's a little like saying "If my underlings fucked up, well, I guess I'll be gracious and fake some public contrition for their actions, which -might- have been errors. Maybe."

Read it aloud: "Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me." Not that it doesn't really mean ANYTHING.

Oh, mistakes were made, for sure... they just weren't Bush's mistakes. Making a wholesale confession for any and all mistakes just distances himself from any real responsibility. If Bush had said, "When I said that we were winning the war in Iraq just two months ago, that was not only a mistake, that was a lie," that would be a real admission. So would "I'm sorry, but members of my administration deliberately contorted evidence in order to justify attacking Iraq," that would be a real admission and apology. Those apologies would take genuine backbone and America loves candor paired with courage. That's what they want in a leader. If Bush had followed that up with, "and I pledge to not do that again," it would have cut his enemies off at the knees and large numbers of Americans would rally to support him. But he didn't do any of that.

With public support for the war long eroded and almost totally vanished, Bush is trying to win some back. His message: "OK, I get it. Now get off my back."

Except he DOESN'T get it. The proof of this is Bush's answer to last year's pressing need for more troops in Iraq. How's he going to fix it? Why, he's just gonna SURGE another 21,500 troops into Baghdad.

Never mind the fact that the situation on the ground NOW is drastically different than it was a year ago.

Never mind the fact that toppling Saddam Hussein's Sunni-run regime has rekindled the centuries-old divide between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in the region, suspicions that have grown stronger since Saddam's Dec. 30 sectarian execution.

Never mind the fact that a majority of Iraqis think that American troop presence is making the country LESS stable and that over 80% want America OUT of Iraq.

Never mind that Bush just lost an election where the key issue was ENDING his war.

Never mind that General Petraeus said just a few months ago that concentrated counter-insurgency requires 20 soldiers per 1,000 residents (or 120,000 combat soldiers for Baghdad alone... when we only have 70,000 combat troops in the entire country now).

Never mind the fact that Bush is ordering top military leaders to do something which, at least initiallythey were opposed to, and probably still ARE, but don't want to say anything lest they get demoted.

Never mind the fact that Bush has frequently said commanders on the ground know what is best.

Never mind that just last month he told the Washington Post that "it's important to trust the judgment of the military when they're making military plans."

No, never mind any of that because none of it ever happened for Bush... it slipped down his Memory Hole, just like every other inconvenient fact which contradicts how he's feeling on any given day.

No, the message of the day is SURGE™. We never said STAY THE COURSE, we have always said NEW WAY FORWARD: SURGE™.

War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.

It's not a surprise, I suppose. Admission of mistakes is the opposite of Bush's natural tendency. When he makes a big mistake, the admission seldom comes, and when it does arrive, it's usually reluctantly and belatedly.

Most famously, late in 2004, Bush was asked to name his biggest mistake in office. He struggled to come up with one, eventually castigating the reporter: "I wish you would have given me this written question ahead of time."

That span of time included the September 11th attacks, the entire Iraq War, and all of the whopping lies told to the American people to rally them around the flag, "Wanted Dead or Alive," "Bring 'em On," Abu Ghraib and more... but Bush couldn't think of a single error he'd made.

I used to think that Bush's obstinancy was a show, a front, a cynical way of misleading a gullible public into supporting The Decider (as in "he sticks to his guns! I admire a man who doesn't flip-flop!"). I don't believe that any longer. Lying to the public is one thing (and, IMO, an impeachable thing), but Bush doesn't even seem capable of admitting errors to himself. Instead, he seems insanely confident in his decisions, and worse, he seems completely unaware when he HAS changed his mind.

Take, for example, Bush's evolving qualifications about the U.S. commitment to Iraq. A year ago, he stated that "We will stay until the job is done." Tonight that became "America's commitment is not open-ended. If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people - and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people."

So much for staying until the job is done, huh? Wasn't it just a few months ago that Bush's henchmen and their Right-Wing echochamber were chanting that withdrawing from Iraq was Treason? Cut and Run? Oh, right, the never said Cut and Run. More Memory Hole.

I could forgive this President for being a liar and a bungler... what I can't forgive is an insane person who lies to himself and drags his country, the Middle East and the entire planet into a raging war all for... what, exactly?