Third Party & Independents Archives

May 24, 2004

The President’s Quicksand

The more a person struggles to extricate them self from quicksand, the deeper they sink. Why? The struggling person does not know how to extricate them self. This appears to be the case for the President. In typical macho, testosterone loaded fashion, the President, instead of trying something different, instead of thinking about the problems in a new way, is going to do what he has been doing, even more ardently, and with more force.

The President reminds me of my young daughter who, upon losing something, would look in the same few places again and again, getting more frustrated each time. I was fond of saying to her, when she would cry out it in frustration “I can’t find it”, “you haven’t yet looked where it is”. She is a teen now, and has learned that repeating failed behavior does not improve her chances of success. Now, she looks in more and more new and unlikely places, until she finds it.

The Whitehouse is reported by CNN to say they don’t expect polls to bump up much as a result of the President’s speech tonight which will try to outline an overview for Iraq. So, the Whitehouse says, it will make the same speech in a number of different venues and different times over the next few weeks. This is what I am talking about. If it doesn’t work, do it some more. This is precisely what is wrong with the President’s policies.

The President will speak tonight of his plan for Iraq. He will speak of providing more troops for the job including more from other nations. But, the President is speaking hollow empty words, as he spoke before the invasion. He could not get international support on his terms before the invasion, - why would he think he could increase that support now, when civil war could break out at anytime?

Voters should weigh Gen. Zinni’s remarks side by side with the President’s speech tonight. Mike Allen of the Washington Post reports today:

Retired Marine Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, former U.S. commander in the Middle East, charges in a book to be published today that "everybody in the military knew" that the Bush administration's plan for Iraq consisted of only half the troops that were needed, and says that country is now "a powder keg" that could break apart into warring regions.

So why would any logical, rational person believe the President tonight when he says his plan calls for more international troops in Iraq? This is just more empty promises to back up his former empty promises. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

Voters should also weigh the President’s speech tonight against Republican Senator Richard G. Lugar who said the United States isn't doing enough to stave off terrorism and criticized President Bush for failing to offer solid plans for Iraq's future. The Washington Post reports:

Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Saturday the nation must prevent terrorism from taking root around the world by "repairing and building alliances," increasing trade, supporting democracy, addressing regional conflicts and controlling weapons of mass destruction.

The President’s answer to environmental problems is to give Corporations more freedom to self-regulate. The President’s answer to improving public schools is to push harder for vouchers which will take more money out of the public school systems. The President’s answer to rising fuel costs is to put more oil into the Federal Oil Reserve system, rather than halting deposits until the price drops. This means Americans are paying $40 a barrel for oil reserves today, lining the pockets of the Bush family and their buddies, when waiting until after peak demand season would cost the taxpayer only $30 a barrel. In addition, halting reserve deposits would lower prices at the pump for consumers: but, the President’s answer is to refuse to alter his course.

The President will tell us tonight that the economy is doing great. He won’t tell us that personal bankruptcies continue to rise to new highs month after month. He won’t tell us that the estimated real rate of unemployment which includes those who have given up trying to find jobs is in the 8% range according to the Office of Labor and Statistics. He will tell us that those individuals responsible for the human rights abuses in Iraq will be punished. He won’t tell us that evidence is now coming forth to indicate that the abuses occurred in a large number of prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan indicating a Dept. of Defense policy sanctioning such practices, whether written or unwritten, was in place under his management as Commander in Chief and Donald Rumsfeld’s direction.

The President will tell us the situation is improving in Iraq. But, that statement will stand in stark contrast with what the President told the Republican Congresspersons earlier this week. AP writer Scott Lindlaw reports, “Bush went to Capitol Hill to brief anxious Republican lawmakers, warning of more difficult days in Iraq even after the transfer of sovereignty.” So, which is it, Mr. President, is the situation in Iraq improving or is it getting worse?

Polls now show Kerry winning against Bush, and the President’s approval rating now stands lower than his disapproval rating on how the Iraq situation is being handled. Will this President rethink his environmental, economic, jobs, foreign policy, and federal budget policies? Of course not. President Bush is a self-proclaimed war time President and backing down, changing direction, or new and creative thinking to address problems are tools simply absent from his macho, testosterone loaded tool bag. God bless the United States with a new President in November.

Posted by David R. Remer at May 24, 2004 04:37 PM
Comments
Comment #15114

UPdate: I just watched the President’s speech. It was as I expected. There was absolutely nothing new in the way of thinking, policy, or strategy to reduce American tax payer costs, American soldier losses, or American loss of foreign diplomatic currency.

As before, the President continues to associate this War in Iraq as a defense of America, he continues to associate this war in Iraq with the War on Terrorism. And as before, the President indicates he still believes America had no choice but to invade Iraq after 9/11 - he said this was not an elective war. A flat out lie on par with Clinton’s denial of ever having had sex with Lewinsky.

He will continue to do what he has been doing, he will do it harder and more deliberately. Never has a more rigid and inflexible mind occupied the Whitehouse.

He stated we are not in Iraq for occupation. Yet, he insists our troops will not be coming home, and soldiers expecting to will have to tough it out as he is going to maintain the 138,000 U.S. troops in Iraq for the foreseeable future. I will give the President credit for his capacity to make words mean what he wants them to mean. We are occupying Iraq, and over 80% of Iraqi’s polled want us to leave. If that is not occupation, then it is truly Bushese.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 24, 2004 08:49 PM
Comment #15117

David,

I did not even bother to watch or listen for I knew it would be the same old song and dance. Which country I wonder will contribute troops to this new U.N. force…

Posted by: V. Edward Martin at May 24, 2004 11:23 PM
Comment #15124

Why would anyone actually expect GW’s address to be anything more than Karl and Karen’s whitewashing of a tarred picket fence?

He’s going down in flames!!!(hum ‘the battle hymn of the republic’ here)Ah and what a sight, he doesn’t know WTF to do. Um, take responsibility for making a mess, no-no wait to easy, Um gloss it over and keep Rummy, ooh that’s good but it needs something else, Oh I know pretend there’s nothing wrong!!! Yes! Thanks Karl and Karen! Let’s just keep focussed on June 30th!!!

Yes let’s let this country rot while we rebuild their whacko country over there and then make the struggling families of this country, over here, foot the bill for it because we gave “Tax relief” and write-offs to all the wealthy. “Screw the farmer-pillage the fields” I think they call that move.

Are republicans getting sick of this war yet? maybeeee, so perhaps that’s the emphasis on June 30? as salvo date. Although we will actually be in there much longer, anybody feel like a British Tory in the new colonies, yet?

History will tell ya’ this stuff never works out, our partners the Brits should know that with all of their colonialist excursions! Ah the boxer rebellion now that was a scuffle but the Zulu’s they were a plucky tribe, bloody good ambush, indeed.

Hasn’t anyone figured out yet that after we leave they are going to be the same bunch of screwed up desert dwelling back-asswards hicks smacking themselves in the heads with swords. We want education for them they want wahabism. We want civic institutions they want mosques to spread hatred of the west. And American working families should pay for this?

Hey curious George, I like your friends they seem like a nice bunch and all, but should I have to pay for Akmud’s right to whip himself bloody on the back as they parade through the streets? I mean 200 billion does sound a bit steep?

Posted by: skunkbud at May 25, 2004 04:00 AM
Comment #15166

The thing I don’t like about “nation building” is that it sets an extremely expensive precedent. It implicitly states to the world, “give us a place that isn’t a democracy, and we’ll invade it, rebuild it, and drop thousands of our own lives to car bombs and ambushes to make sure it BECOMES a democracy.” In order to be consistent and credible in that approach, any time there is a Rwanda, we have to go in. Sudan? Gotta go. North Korea? Well, we may not WANT to go there, but now we’re committed to the idea.

Otherwise, if we CAN’T be consistent in that approach (and we can’t), then we force ourselves into the position of being a national allegory to Wyatt Earp: using the badge and authority as a ticket to carry out a personal agenda, essentially as a CORRUPT cop through selective enforcement of “law”.

It’s not what America SHOULD be about. It has sometimes been what America was about (see the W. Earp example), but we’re suppose to rise above those mistakes and learn from them and get better over time.

Let’s just cease to be Wyatt Earp.

Posted by: Ciggy at May 25, 2004 11:11 AM
Comment #15255

Cig,
Let me play the opposite side of the table for a second with one group of questions(I do agree with you though).

How long were we going to, or expected to, keep Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in a containment situation? Is it until Uday and Qusay take over? How long was this to go on? I mean, having the military positioned in the gulf isn’t free, nor are air patrols, nor are the operation of aircraft carriers. Nor are maritime policing efforts throughout the persian gulf, not to mention manpower(although I would imagine great oil prices). But how was it to end otherwise?

To me, that’s always been the 600 pound gorilla in all of this.

Posted by: skunkbud at May 26, 2004 02:50 AM
Comment #15269

skunkbud, that’s right. Saddam had to be taken out at some point. Was it so imperative that we had to lose allies and the moral high ground? So imminent that we had to buy it exclusively with American blood and wealth? No.

Posted by: American Pundit at May 26, 2004 09:41 AM
Comment #15276

Skunkbud as Neocon’s Advocate:
“How long were we going to, or expected to, keep Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in a containment situation?”

As long as the USSR, or Cuba, or North Korea, et al. Sometimes they implode; sometimes they go Capitalist like China; sometimes they just resort to cannibalism to survive like North Korea. But no matter what, containment is what works with the lowest coefficient of loss of life and monetary expense.

“having the military positioned in the gulf isn’t free, nor are air patrols, nor are the operation of aircraft carriers.”

Not free, that is true. But it’s less expensive to fly a few reconnaissance sorties and burn the electricity to shine the radar over the border, than it is to launch combat strikes, expend enormous amounts of ammunition, and go through all the smart weaponry like a Playboy photographer going through film. That expense adds up more quickly, and the expense to diplomacy in other parts of the world has to be taken into account as well.

To me a big part of the blame for this is on the liberal side as well, though, because when Bush SENIOR failed to take out Saddam, the left berated him to no end over it. “Why didn’t you finish the job?” And that probably sunk into Junior’s skull after a while, and he probably thought he could get accolades from the left, or at least avoid the derision they gave his father for “not taking out Saddam”.

It turns out, Bush Senior, was RIGHT. Stability in the middle east was in better shape with Saddam in place; Europe liked it better that way; it was more of a counterweight to Iranian power; and it was more of a stumbling block to Islamic terrorism than an ally. Let’s also not forget that Saddam was pumping the oil out like CRAZY, flooding the market, and he didn’t give a damn what OPEC thought of it. That made it a little less painful at the gas pump in the U.S.

Iraq wasn’t better off with Saddam in charge there, but the U.S. was. Guess which one I consider more important?

In all of this, the father had to be proven right by the son being proven so wrong.

Posted by: Ciggy at May 26, 2004 10:17 AM
Comment #15291

David,
I couldn’t agree with you more. So given all this, I don’t understand how anyone still believes Kerry and Bush are “two peas in the same pod.” Their approaches to all of the issues you’ve raised are fundamentally different. I’m not expecting to sway anyone to Kerry — but it’s unfair to oppose him because he’s no different from Bush. That could not be further from the truth.

Posted by: 9thwave at May 26, 2004 03:21 PM
Comment #15351

> How long were we going to, or expected to, keep
> Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in a containment
> situation?

Until the WORLD decided that Saddam Hussein was enough of a threat for the WORLD to take on. A true coalition of N Amer, European, and Arab/Muslim countries would have been more effective than our attempts at nation-biulding. Anbds then the WORLD could have carried the costs, the dangers, and the PR liabilities if it went bad. Rather than just the US.

Posted by: goethean at May 27, 2004 01:30 PM
Comment #15357

If Iraq were a true and *imminent* threat to the U.S., then invasion would be justifiable. But as it turns out, that was not the case.

Posted by: Ciggy at May 27, 2004 02:48 PM