Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The stab in the back........

I did watch the state of the union speech today. Since it was on at 11 am Japan time, I could not have the luxury that many DC residents had of being drunk during it. I probably would not have used so many swear words and talked to the TV so much. Of course, I had to say it under my breath since a lot of people in the room actually liked what he said.

So, it was a typical Bush speech. If you like him, you love it. If you don't like him, you hate it. If you believe Iraq is a part of the war on terror, you support his words. If you think, as I do, that Iraq is about Iraq and really has nothing to do with defending Americans-in fact it actually runs counter to many of the foreign policy objectives the United States should be pursuing. Evidently the Iraqis did not like it either, since in their midst a bunch of car bombs went off right after the end of the speech.

Plus, Bush's words make little impact when considered against the backdrop of other things said and other news. I find it astounding that the Prime Minister of Iraq at the end of November, asked Bush to exactly the opposite of what the United States is pledged to do now.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had a surprise for President Bush when they sat down with their aides in the Four Seasons Hotel in Amman, Jordan. Firing up a PowerPoint presentation, Maliki and his national security adviser proposed that U.S. troops withdraw to the outskirts of Baghdad and let Iraqis take over security in the strife-torn capital. Maliki said he did not want any more U.S. troops at all, just more
The president listened intently to the unexpected proposal at
their Nov. 30 meeting, according to accounts from several administration
officials. Bush seemed impressed that Maliki had taken the initiative, but it did not take him long to reject the idea. By the time Bush returned to
Washington, the plan had already been picked through by his military commanders. At a meeting in the White House's Roosevelt Room, the president flatly told his advisers that the Maliki plan was not going to work. He had concluded that the Iraqis were not up to the task and that Baghdad would collapse into chaos, making a bad situation worse. And so the Americans would have to help them. From that early December meeting on, Bush was headed down a path that would result in his defying critics and the seeming message of the November elections by ordering 21,500 more U.S. troops to Iraq. A reconstruction of the administration's Iraq policy review, based on more than a dozen interviews with senior advisers, Bush associates, lawmakers and national security officials, reveals a president taking the lead in driving the process toward one more effort at victory -- despite doubts along the way from his own military commanders, lawmakers and the public at large.

Bush's assesment may or may not be right, but what this revelation does tell is that Iraq's government is not the soverign entity that the Bush administration is saying it is. If it were a sovereign government, the only acceptable respones would have been "Fine, knock yourself out. We will be more than happy for you do it your self. Its about goddamned time!"

Probably the reason the plan was rejected is that people are not sure about Malaki and doing it his way would have allowed him a vehicle to use the Iraqi military to continue to settle Shiite scores-something I believe Malaki is still saying- when you read between the lines of his public statements.

If you read a lot of the writings on both sides of the aisle there is not much confidence in the Iraqi prime minister. With good reason, because by my count he has failed the US on at least 6 seperate occasions. And getting his cooperation now is critical. Based on his track record even people who support the war are cautious in their assesements of what he can deliver.

My real fear is that both sides have really, deep down, written off the Iraqis because they are cannot and will not put their stupid adherence to Islam behind them and move on to progress. So conservative pundits- the Town Hall Harlot chief among them are laying the ground work of assigning blame. They will claim and are begining to say that Germany US could have won the war, but liberal left wingers stabbed the effort in the back. This tactic will avoid blaming the Arabs-all of them-who have allowed this mess to arise and instead focus on the political advantage it can bring them in the post Bush, post Democratic Congress. That's a short sighted approach because even without Iraq there are still challenges out there to be dealt with. The next few months will tell if I am right or not.


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