Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Day Ain't Over Yet

I know I keep on saying, we shouldn’t be in this war. Anybody who has read anything I’ve written on this site knows that my opinion of this war ranks somewhere between open cesspits and seventies casual wear.

That said, the idea of leaving this war without successfully reconstructing Iraq ranks somewhere below or within that open cesspit, and wouldn’t be much out of place with the rest of the contents. Unfortunately, the Bush timetable, in fact the entire way this war was prepared, carried out, and mopped up so far, has put our country in danger of doing just that.

First, in the early planning stages, Bush bypassed working groups, built of people with great amounts of experience as to the infrastructure and bureacracy of Iraq, in favor of what the Office of Special Plans wanted, which was people coming out in droves to support Americans, and the infrastructure quickly changing hands as we scared the you-know-what out of Saddam and got him to capitulate. Shock and Awe, y'all.

You do notice how little we hear about Shock and Awe anymore. Like smoking gun that comes in the form of a mushroom cloud, or stockpiles of WMDs, or the idea that there were many terrorists in Iraq before we showed up. Oh, it's just not talked about in polite society any more.

Our army, to its credit, started taking up the slack. They did so, though, with fewer soldiers on the ground than what would have been effective for an invasion like the one they were having to fight. They really didn't have a choice, having stuck their necks into Iraq, and that complicated the invasion.

Fewer soldiers were sent over greater territory, supply lines were stretched longer, and our control of many of the cities was delayed for lack of the soldiers to properly lay claim to the territory. Any potential uprising in our favor languished as people took a wait and see attitude. Bush's father burned the Shia and the Kurds ten years ago when he withdrew support for their resistance to Saddam. Naturally they asked themselves whether the berry fell far from the Bush. It's amazing that the planners never took this into account.

Valuable time was lost in the slog to Iraq because of this, and other bad assumptions. Who knows how much?

Okay, we get there, we take control, and with American help Saddam's Statue get bent over, and falls. (take whatever symbolic meaning you wish from that.). Of course, as the Saddam's government collapses, it's not long until people start looting, even stripping the materials off the buildings themselves.

Do we move in, do we put our foot down, and leave the looter hopping around on other one our jackboots didn't crush? No, we just let them demonstrate their newfound freedom by committing unrestrained felonies. Why? Well maybe it's not our mission, maybe it's that we couldn't spare the troops, or maybe it's just that the plan to take care of this was not one of those special plans the Office of Special Plans was so fond of.

The American Public begins begins to wonder whether the word "special" is a euphemism for something else.

To quote the wise and venerable Alanis Morrisette, Let's fast forward to a few months later. We're doing somewhat better in many parts of Iraq, even in the the Sunni triangle, though progress is admittedly slower there. Now this is what gets me, and what shocked me in tonight's Frontline: we run out of money to pay the people in Iraq, to keep to keep the security, to create the public works and rebuild the infrastructure. Because of that, people's confidence in us is shaken, and the progress in doing the very thing we were supposed to do is halted harmfully.

I certainly hope by now that this administration has learned from experience, but it seems that again and again, the Bush administration has underestimated the requirements of troops, supplies, funding, and good faith which were needed in order to get the job done. They have approached this war with gambles, shortcuts, bandaids over bullet wounds, and a great deal of what can only be called cheap bastardry.

Columnist Molly Ivins, in a television interview on my local PBS station, said something that I found to be rather insightful. She said that some people were competent in the showmanship of the election with the talking and the gladhanding and all of that, and some people were good at the governance part, with the deals and the working out of the minutia and all of that stuff which shows up on C-Span (my mention, not hers).

Well, I guess it should be predictable, but let me spell it out: She said that Bush was wonderful as a campaigner, but he found the work of governance to be dreadfully boring.

This, unfortunately, is the man we elected last time. The former governor of a state rich in bureacracy, a man appropriate to the post of the executive in such a land: Somebody who doesn't get in the way of those in his government who want to satisfy the special interests. This is a guy so lacking in real competence that it's inevitable that he delegate governing to his staff.

Is it any wonder his policy stands sound like they come from a committee, that they smack of supressive bureacratic methods and distrust of the public's right to know?

What we really need is a president who wishes to be more in touch with the realities on the ground than the delegations in his government. Four more years of disorganized, dysfunctional, and irresponsible government like Bush's will be four too much.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at February 13, 2004 1:21 AM