Democrats & Liberals Archives

Understated

In a rare show of personal insight, Bush admits to ‘miscalculation’ in post-war Iraq. The New York Times article that the above-linked BBC article cites is titled, Bush Dismisses Idea That Kerry Lied on Vietnam, since that issue is so important over here (NYT requires free registration, archived articles require purchase), and possibly since Bush’s admission was little more than a token display in preparation for the circus of moderation planned for the upcoming Republican Convention.

A fundamental contributor to Bush's mistake in the occupation of Iraq was his economic policy for the country. This is detailed by Naomi Klein in her article, Baghdad Year Zero, in the September issue of Harper's. She explores the reasoning behind Bush's neocon agenda for Iraq and its perilous effects, best summarized in this footnote:

It is in Basra where the connections between economic reforms and the rise of the resistance was put in starkest terms. In December the union representing oil workers was negotiating with the Oil Ministry for a salary increase. Getting nowhere, the workers offered the ministry a simple choice: increase their paltry salaries or they would all join the armed resistance. They received a substantial raise.

Of course, we can't forget the policy/logistics debacle that led to Abu Ghraib. Or the grand miscalculation of where Iraq's political strengths lie. Bush wouldn't go into the details of his miscalculation in order to deny culpability in any specific mistake, he just wanted to announce his humble realization and hope it would be enough.

Though I'm sure we all appreciate this show of humility and contrition on the part of President Bush, it might help if we knew his plans on how to fix the situation if he were reelected. He admits that as president he has to make the tough decisions - he can't pass off this responsibility - yet he has yet to demonstrate this decisiveness with either Afghanistan or Iraq. After passing the buck to appointed regimes, Bush has yet to provide substantive strategy in support of these two troubled nations.

Posted by Joseph Briggs at August 27, 2004 10:56 AM