Thursday, March 27, 2008

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. - Updated


From Think Progress:
Violence continues across southern Iraq today, as radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is threatening to end his crucial cease-fire by calling for the “downfall of the U.S.-backed government.”

In response, the administration has gone on a desperate PR blitz to label renewed violence in Iraq as “byproduct of the success of the surge.” “It’s “what critics have wanted to see,” said White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, calling it a struggle led by Iraqi security forces.

Today — as rockets rain down on the Green Zone and two American soldiers died — Bush cast the activity as a “very positive moment” in an interview with the Times of U.K.
I would love to give Inigo Montoya a few moments with George W. Bush.

UPDATE:
I spent the time to read Bush's speech in Dayton, Ohio. Some highlights:
The surge is doing what it was designed to do. It's helping Iraqis reclaim security and restart political and economic life. It is bringing America closer to a key strategic victory in the war against these extremists and radicals.
Moving goal post. It was supposed to do more than "help." They were supposed to achieve certain benchmarks.
In Baghdad, we've worked with Iraqi security forces to greatly diminish the sectarian violence and civilian deaths. We've broken the grip of al Qaida on the capital. We've weakened the influence of Iranian-backed militias. We've dramatically improved security conditions in many devastated neighborhoods in what some have deemed a "re-liberation."
Diminished sectarian violence and civilian deaths? Has he looked lately?
It's becoming clear that Anbar has not been lost to al Qaeda -- that al Qaeda has been -- has lost Anbar. And that's important, because this is the place where al Qaeda leadership has said they will find safe haven from which to launch further attacks against the United States of America.
Mmmm, George? Al Qaeda wasn't anywhere near Anbar province until you shattered the nation. Just sayin'. Asshat.
There's a strong commitment by the central government of Iraq to say that no one is above the law.
At this point my puke-meter shattered. HOW ABOUT THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT IN THE UNITED STATES MAKING IT CLEAR THAT NO ONE, INCLUDING THE CRIMINAL IN THE OVAL OFFICE, IS NOT ABOVE THE LAW?
I know, I was shouting. He has that effect on me.
As the news of the success in Anbar has spread, similar grassroots movements have sprung up all around the country.
All this pointing to Anbar as a success, mentioned in discussions of the "surge" to imply that it's related. But Anbar had calmed down before the "surge" ever happened. It's rather like mentioning Iraq and al Qaeda in the same paragraph so often that people think they have something to do with each other.
In other words, people have stepped up and said, we're sick and tired of our families having to live in violence. We can't stand the thought of people who murder the innocent to achieve political objectives, and we intend to do something about it. And they have. (Applause.)
I'd like to see something done about "people who murder the innocent to achieve political objectives" too, and yes, George, I'm talking about you.
Iraq also wants to solidify its relationship with the United States. Last year, Iraqi leaders came to us with a request to form a long-term strategic partnership. This partnership would help assure Iraqis that political and economic and security cooperation between our nations will endure. This partnership would also ensure protections for American troops when the U.N. mandate for Multi-National Forces in Iraq expires this December. Now, this partnership would not bind future Presidents to specific troop levels. This partnership would not establish permanent bases in Iraq. It would be similar to partnerships that we have with Afghanistan and other free nations around the world. My administration will work to complete this strategic partnership in the coming months. The Iraqi people have chosen to stand with America against our common enemies. And it's in our interest that we stand with them. [emphasis mine]
Quick translation: This is the positive spin I put on making long-term commitments without calling it a treaty and having to consult with the Senate (heehee).

all this progress from the surge
...
achievements of the surge

Cf. Inigo Montoya comment in header.
But there's one thing that is consistent. No matter what shortcomings these critics diagnose, their prescription is always the same -- retreat. They claim that our strategic interest is elsewhere, and that if we would just get out of Iraq, we could focus on the battles that really matter. This argument makes no sense. (Applause.) If America's strategic interests are not in Iraq -- the convergence point for the twin threats of al Qaeda and Iran, the nation Osama bin Laden's deputy has called "the place for the greatest battle," the country at the heart of the most volatile region on Earth -- then where are they?
What threat does Iran currently pose to the United States? Not Bush's fevered imagination; actual, imminent threat. Who is responsible for the al Qaeda junior varsity in Iraq? That would be GWB, because Saddam loathed al Qaeda. He had a secular dictatorship and al Qaeda is an organization of theocratic religious extremists.
But the best way to honor the fallen is to complete the mission, and lay the foundation of peace.
Damn. My replacement puke-meter exploded.
What effing mission, you )$()($)($&*#)^&*$)(!!!???????

Oh yes, this one:
...helping the Iraqis defeat their enemies and build a free society would be a strategic victory that would resound far beyond Iraq's borders.
That was what we were told back in 2002-2003, right? We were going there to help defeat Iraq's enemies and build a free society.

No, wait. That wasn't it. It was to topple Saddam and find and disarm the WMDs. Well, one out of two....

Hmm, if we toppled Saddam and there weren't WMDs, then we did what we set out to do, we've already accomplished what we went there to do, and we can declare victory and get the hell out of there.

Unless someone's constantly redefining the terms.

Bush is a master of Calvinball. ["The only consistent rule is that Calvinball may never be played with the same rules twice." Wikipedia]

--the BB

1 comment:

Grandmère Mimi said...

Can you believe that I am reading Bush's whole speech - seven fecking pages? How do folks keep a straight face in his presence? How do they keep from throwing rotten tomatoes? Well, the speech was at an Air Force base. I suppose they're under orders not to.