Secondly —some Republican senators have signalled that they might side with a new Democratic majority unless Bush changes course. The group wants a "decisive rethink" on Iraq. That Democrats may capture both houses is the impetus to this group which might find itself in a position to support cutting war funding if the administration continues to ignore the growing chorus of war critics.
So far, however, the Iraq Study Group fails to impress. Washington Post's Dana Millbank says the group has nothing to report:
If President Bush and the Iraqi government are hoping for some solutions from the congressionally commissioned Iraq Study Group, they might want to start thinking about a Plan B.Millbank has a point. "Helluva mess" tells us as much about Iraq as "stay the course". "Helluva mess" is, of course, the result of having no course to stay.
Former secretary of state James Baker and former congressman Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.), the study group's co-chairmen, called a briefing yesterday to give a "progress report" on their activities. A dozen television cameras and scores of reporters filled the hall -- only to discover that Baker and Hamilton had revived Jerry Seinfeld's "show about nothing" format.
—Dana Milbank, This Just In: The Iraq Study Group Has Nothing to Report
Indeed it would appear that the Iraq Study Group has already made Bush's biggest mistake: it cannot define success. That may be because the purpose of the group was never designed to make of Iraq a success but, rather, to come up with a way to save George W. Bush's ass —if not his face. Bush cannot save face, however, when nothing will ever change the fact that his war was lost when he began it upon a pack of malicious lies.
Already the ISG has ruled out victory which Bush had clearly hoped to avoid having to define. Bush calls "victory" his objective; he talks about the "enemy". What he has utterly failed to understand is that the enemy in Iraq is the people themselves for whom the US presence is an abominable violation of their nation's sovereignty and the personhood of each citizen of Iraq. What, therefore, is victory when the people themselves oppose the occupation. Does victory consist of the brutal murder of every last Iraqi who dares to oppose the illegal aggression waged against him and his nation? Bush might have gotten away with an endless string of lies and platitudes had not the lack of victory been so spectacular that it will neutralize any "October Surprise" that Karl Rove might have wanted to stage.
The Study Group is, therefore, a cynical, disingenuous exercise that might as well have GOP stamped all over it.
Instead, the commission is headed toward presenting President Bush with two clear policy choices that contradict his rhetoric of establishing democracy in Iraq. The more palatable of the two choices for the White House, "Stability First," argues that the military should focus on stabilizing Baghdad while the American Embassy should work toward political accommodation with insurgents. The goal of nurturing a democracy in Iraq is dropped.It must be pointed out, however, that achieving "stability" in Iraq can never be touted by Bush supporting GOPPERS as a "victory". Iraq, after all, was "stable" before Bush destabilized it. At best, "stabilization" achieves a tenuous status quo ante but with a tragic loss of innocent civilian lives. Among the various options, none are good. Bush lost the battle of Iraq.
But what IS the mission? Bush has no clue. Bush has proven himself incapable of articulating a mission; he issues only empty, meaningless, shallow platitudes, slogans like "stay the course" as opposed to "cut and run". This is kool-aid cooked up and/or concocted by GOP focus groups, chosen for its ability to stir up primal fears and instincts. Fact is: there is no mission, there is no glorious victory. Only utterly meaningless death, human tragedy and a sinister vision of apocalypse —the price humankind pays for vainglorious visions of imperial dictatorship and world domination.
In his weekly radio address, Bush acknowledged that Ramadan has been "rough" for both US troops and Iraqis.
But he attributed the growing violence to more active operations by US troops as well as "a sophisticated propaganda strategy" pursued by insurgents.
"There is one thing we will not do: We will not pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete," Bush said.
Selected emails from out the nation:
I have been opposed to the war in Iraq from the beginning. Unfortunately, it has been a tragedy for all concerned. We must change course. Continuing to do the same thing while expecting a different result is simply not acceptable. It is time to admit our error and to begin to move forward in a new direction. [emphasis mine, lh]The Existentialist Cowboy
Barbara Dunaway, Santa Barbara, California
I, like many Americans, gave the Bush administration the benefit of the doubt prior to the start of the war. Since then, with no weapons of mass destruction to be found, the tribal warfare which has historically existed in Iraq preventing progress in the move toward democracy, the thousands of military personnel who have died, and the billions of US dollars that are being spent on this effort instead of important domestic problems, I am appalled and disgusted that we are now stuck in what appears to be a no-win situation.
Diana Ananda, Bellevue, Kentucky
In February 2003, I thought a war with Iraq was unnecessary, unwise, and unlawful... Three years later, more than 2,700 U.S. troops killed, 20,000 plus injured, 650,000 or so Iraqis dead, and no end it sight. My opinion has not changed. Hey, what do I know? I learned all this from various news sources; too bad the Bush administration was not listening to their own experts.
John Marsh, East Lansing, Michigan
War on Terrorism