Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Credibility Shuffle

This one goes out to all the navel-gazers who are still wondering aloud whether he will "get it" or not:

WASHINGTON - [Fredo] Bush spoke Saturday about parts of the Iraq Study Group report that mirror his policies — but he ignored the sections that criticize his administration's handling of the war.

In his weekly radio broadcast, Bush said the bipartisan group's report presented a straightforward picture of the "grave situation we face in Iraq." He said he was pleased the panel supported his goal of an Iraq that can govern, sustain and defend itself, even though that will take time. And he said he was glad the bipartisan panel did not suggest a hasty withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.


Bush is expected to settle on a new course for Iraq and present it to the nation in a speech before Christmas. He said he will consider the panel's 79 recommendations.

Uh-huh. And then he'll pray, and then the voices in his head will reiterate that he's doing God's work, and that the hundreds of innocent civilians being blown to pieces or power-drilled to death every day are just the price of liberation. Or something.

The clue is that he's still stuck on the boilerplate of "the panel support[ing] his goal of an Iraq that can govern, sustain and defend itself". It can't do any of those things now, and training corrupt Iranian-backed death squads to take over after we finally do back away is not going to get them any closer to that putative goal.

Moreover, he continues to imply by that choice of phrasing that the clear majority of people, who have clearly and consistently seen that he doesn't have a plan (and even if he did, would have no clue how to implement it), do not want those things for Iraq.

And that's simply no longer the question. Of course everyone, pro or con on the issue of the war itself, wants Iraq to be stable, peaceful, and productive. (I'm trying to give the pro crowd some small benefit of the doubt here.) The problem is, and has been for a couple of years now, that this path is clearly not taking them even in that direction, much less toward that destination. For even a chance at such a fantasy, it would take twice as many troops for at least a decade, and an American population completely desensitized to seriously ramped-up troop and civilian casualties. Even then it's incredibly unlikely, but if it's going to magically happen on our watch, that's about the only way.

Now, if Bush wants to be a straight shooter on all this, and recognizes the consequences, and still wants to double down, then he needs to man up and start being honest about the dismal options available to us. Anything less is dishonorable, pure and simple.

Bush has had four years to figure this shit out, and it's only gotten tragically worse. It's time to put up or shut up. Either present something resembling an actual plan, or just back away and let the adults figure out how best to extricate ourselves from this mess. But make no mistake -- no matter how earnestly Bush cherry-picks sections of the ISG report, his credibility is completely shot with anyone who has actually been paying attention. He's done, the only task left is to marginalize him and his idiot cheerleaders, and at long last start to at least mitigate some of the damage they would continue to do if they had their way.

And considering how many former Nixon and Reagan toadies have festered in this administration, we would do well to make sure that once these fucks are on the margins, they stay there for good. Even letting them metastasize on the CPAC circus-geek grifter circuit is too good for them. They should be sentenced to a lifetime of actually having to work for a living.

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