Saturday, August 27, 2005

Lowering Expectations

We have turned so many corners in Iraq that I'm more than a little nauseated. It's now clear that we (to use the last Secretary of State's phrase) "broke it." What's also clear is that we certainly do not own it.

Public support in America for this dreadful misadventure has plummeted, along with the competence rating of the President. The problem is that the man who sometimes actually resides in the Oval Office and his administration apparently refuse to acknowledge any of the mistakes made in the invasion and instead prefer to rely on the magical language of "staying the course," and "remaining resolute."

Still, many among our allies see the growing disconnect with reality represented by that approach and are beginning to realize that the Emperor is in fact naked.

First, from Australia (August 24, 2005):

THE fissures over the unfolding failures in Iraq have permeated the Bush administration, the US military and the Republican establishment - and the Howard Government cannot defy a reckoning on its Iraq policy.
George W. Bush has no credible story to offer the American public about Iraq. Divisions are opening within his administration and there is now an unspeakable reality - on balance, Iraq under Saddam Hussein was less a threat to US strategic interests than is Iraq today.

Bush and Howard say they will remain in Iraq "until the job is done". This statement demands to be unpacked. What does it mean? Does it mean staying until the insurgency is beaten or only until a new government is formed under a new constitution?

The evidence is that US objectives are changing. The invasion was about creating a secular democracy -- but that cause is lost. It won't happen. If Iraq stays together it will become a form of Islamic republic with serious security problems and a fractured economy. Meanwhile, antagonism is growing between Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds with each group operating its own militias. ...

Bush is trapped by his own folly. Bush wanted to do Iraq on the cheap. He never had enough troops or a proper plan or a sense of the risks. Now he is trapped between the commitment needed to beat the insurgency and the pressures for an exit strategy. Howard is trapped with him.
[Emphasis added]

Second, and perhaps more telling, is this editorial from Iraq's Azzaman (August 18, 2005):

It took U.S. President George W. Bush more than two years to understand that the ostrich, though a bird, is too big to fly.

That is the way many Iraqis interpret the report in the Washington Post in which senior Whitehouse officials are quoted as saying that Bush has lowered his expectations of what can be achieved in Iraq.

Mr. Bush needs to be made to understand that his “ostrich” in Iraq was grounded the same day his troops landed here and has even lost the ability to run, the characteristic the African bird is famous for.

Therefore, lowering expectations is not enough. The U.S. administration needs to comprehensively revise its Iraq policy which has cost both Iraqis and Americans a great deal.

That Mr. Bush has realized the ostrich cannot fly it is time for him to sit down and acknowledge that his Iraq project has been total fiasco.

The reasons hindering the fulfillment of Mr. Bush’s dream of spreading “democracy” in the Middle East are still there despite the death of more than 1,800 U.S. troops, according to the official tally, and tens of thousands of Iraqis.
[Emphasis added]

It's time for the current maladministration to pull its head out of the sand and to start realistically assessing what has been done and then to try to fix things. It's also time for the US Congress to confront the administration and this issue head on.

Odd, but I frankly am not that optimistic right now. Perhaps as we get closer to the 2006 election, simple politics will cause the job to finally get done.


Blogger Eli said...

Perhaps as we get closer to the 2006 election, simple politics will cause the job to finally get done.

Somehow, the exact opposite seems far more likely to me - "simple politics" seems to lead us more and more reliably in the wrong direction these days.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Elmo said...

"Today at Crawford"

8:56 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home