June 29, 2005

The NYT Craps On Progress

I didn't watch President Bush's speech last night, but I did read a transcript, and after seeing a few positive reviews, I decided to watch a video.

Dude...who was that guy behind the microphone? He looked like Dubya...but he was actually speaking well! I'm impressed. Aside from the usual "nucular" issue, this was one of his best speeches. The message and the delivery were both very effective.

Unfortunately, our friends at the New York Times have decided that he didn't really say anything important, and that Iraq is still a QUAAAAAAAAGMIIIIIIIIRE!!!! Check out this asshatted editorial:

President Bush's Speech About Iraq

President Bush told the nation last night that the war in Iraq was difficult but winnable. Only the first is clearly true.

Of course, if your view of the world is clouded by irrational Bush hatred.

Despite buoyant cheerleading by administration officials...

I can almost taste the immaturity that inspired that statement.

...the military situation is at best unimproved.

Seriously, how can they get away with this level of asininity? Are they incapable of seeing any positive effects of the war? What is it going to take to please you people? I want answers!!!

The Iraqi Army, despite Mr. Bush's optimistic descriptions, shows no signs of being able to control the country without American help for years to come.

At the current level of training, that may be true. But as more of the country is secured and more time can be devoted to preparing them to defend themselves, the situation should improve. But in order to admit this, you'd have to accept the fact that the military is actually accomplishing something.

There are not enough American soldiers to carry out the job they have been sent to do...

Let's see here...who should I believe? An anonymous newspaper editor, or the military commanders who are actually in Iraq? It's such a tough decision.

...yet the strain of maintaining even this inadequate force is taking a terrible toll on the ability of the United States to defend its security on other fronts around the world.

Such as...? It's not like every single U.S. troop in the world is occupied right now.

We did not expect Mr. Bush would apologize for the misinformation that helped lead us into this war...

Since he wasn't responsible for that misinformation, I don't know why he should have to.

...or for the catastrophic mistakes his team made in running the military operation.

Once again, notice the complete lack of examples. They do this so people who already agree with them can insert some event that fits their perception of a "catastrophe," and people who disagree won't have any factual information to work with. It's brilliant in an illogical kind of way.

But we had hoped he would resist the temptation to raise the bloody flag of 9/11 over and over again to justify a war in a country that had nothing whatsoever to do with the terrorist attacks.

Unbelievable. You idiots still don't get it. The War on Terror is not about revenge. It's about preventing another 9/11 from happening. If war was just about retaliation, we wouldn't have fought Germany in WWII. If you had actually listened to Bush's speech, maybe you would understand how replacing totalitarian dictators with democratically elected leaders helps stop terrorism. But that would require you to think, and if you could do that, you wouldn't be liberal.

We had hoped that he would seize the moment to tell the nation how he will define victory, and to give Americans a specific sense of how he intends to reach that goal - beyond repeating the same wishful scenario that he has been describing since the invasion.

Let's go to the transcript and illustrate your mind-boggling ignorance:

A little over a year ago, I spoke to the nation and described our coalition's goal in Iraq. I said that America's mission in Iraq is to defeat an enemy and give strength to a friend, a free, representative government that is an ally in the war on terror and a beacon of hope in a part of the world that is desperate for reform. I outlined the steps we would take to achieve this goal: We would hand authority over to a sovereign Iraqi government; we would help Iraqis hold free elections by January 2005; we would continue helping Iraqis rebuild their nation's infrastructure and economy; we would encourage more international support for Iraq's democratic transition; and we would enable Iraqis to take increasing responsibility for their own security and stability.

And a bit later:

The principal task of our military is to find and defeat the terrorists and that is why we are on the offense. And as we pursue the terrorists, our military is helping to train Iraqi security forces so that they can defend their people and fight the enemy on their own. Our strategy can be summed up this way: As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.

Is that enough for you, you pretentious pricks?

Sadly, Mr. Bush wasted his opportunity last night, giving a speech that only answered questions no one was asking.

A "fact" that I just disproved, incidentally.

He told the nation, again and again, that a stable and democratic Iraq would be worth American sacrifices, while the nation was wondering whether American sacrifices could actually produce a stable and democratic Iraq.

They're doing a pretty good job so far. Unless you people actually take my "the war won't be a success until Iraq has a space program" joke seriously.

Given the way this war was planned and executed, the president does not have any good options available...


...and if American forces were withdrawn, Iraq would probably sink into a civil war that would create large stretches of no man's land where private militias and stateless terrorists could operate with impunity.

Which is why Bush specifically said that American forces won't be pulled out until they're no longer needed. What were you saying earlier about answering questions nobody asked?

But if Mr. Bush is intent on staying the course, it will take years before the Iraqi government and its military are able to stand on their own.

Oh, is that the problem? Well, then let's just tell Dubya to push the magical "make Iraq a successful democracy in an instant" button! All those mean insurgents will just disappear, and Iraq will be a land of fairies and butterflies and enchanted pink unicorns that crap out pieces of delicious candy.

...Do I really need to add the sarcasm tags?

Most important of all - despite his lofty assurance last night that in the end the insurgents "cannot stop the advance of freedom" - all those years of effort and suffering could still end with the Iraqis turning on each other, or deciding that the American troops were the ultimate enemy after all.

Yes, and it could also end with everyone suddenly bursting into song and dance, but that probably won't happen. Aren't hypothetical scenarios fun?

The critical challenge is to gauge, with a clear head, exactly when and if the tipping point arrives and the American presence is only making a terrible situation worse.

At this point, I'm almost convinced that the writer didn't even read a summary of Bush's speech, because I'm pretty sure he covered this.

Mr. Bush has been under pressure, even from some Republicans, to come up with a timeline for an exit.

And he explained why that would be a terrible idea.

It makes no sense to encourage the insurrectionists...

What happened? Is "insurgents" no longer P.C.?

...by telling them that if their suicide bombers continue to blow themselves up at the current rate, the Americans will be leaving in six months or a year. It is Iraq's elected officials, who desperately need an American presence, who have to be told that Washington's support isn't open-ended.

And this differs from current policy...how, exactly?

The elected government is the only hope, but its current performance is far from promising. While the support of the Shiite's powerful Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani for the democratic elections was heartening, the Shiite majority in Parliament is mainly composed of religious parties competing to demonstrate that they have the ayatollah's ear. The Kurds continue to put broader national interests behind their own goal of an autonomous ministate that would include the oil fields of Kirkuk. The Sunnis, who boycotted the election, are only now being brought into the constitution-writing effort and so far have made no real effort to mobilize against the terrorists in their midst.

Once again, we see the writer taking the position that just because something hasn't happened yet, it never will. I think the whole "Sunnis participating in the constitutional process" thing indicates that progress is being made. Once again, there is no magical button that will make this stuff happen instantly. Considering the fact that Iraq was a dictatorship for decades, it's amazing that they're moving forward this fast. But of course, if the eeeeeeevil Republicans are responsible for it, it can't be good.

Pressure from the Bush administration for the government to do better has increased since the State Department took control of Iraq policy from the Pentagon. But there is much more to do, and the president needed to show the American people that he is not giving the Iraqi politicians a blank check to fritter away their opportunities.

Once they have a working constitution, I'm sure they'll have a better idea of what they're supposed to do.

Listening to Mr. Bush offer the usual emotional rhetoric about the advance of freedom and the sacrifice of American soldiers, our thoughts went back to some of the letters we received in anticipation of the speech. One was from the brother of a fallen Marine, who said he did not want Mr. Bush to say the war should continue in order to keep faith with the men and women who have died fighting it. "We do not need more justifications for the war. We need an effective strategy to win it," he wrote.

Well, mission accomplished.

Another letter came from an opponent of the invasion who urged the American left to "get over its anger over President Bush's catastrophic blunder" and start trying to figure out how to win the conflict that exists.

What is this mysterious "catastrophe" they keep referring to? Man, I'm glad I don't live in that liberal fantasy world. It seems like a dark and scary place.

No one wants a disaster in Iraq...

*cough*Ward Churchill*cough*

...and Mr. Bush's critics can put aside, at least temporarily, their anger at the administration for its hubris...

I believe that in less touchy-feely circles, it's known as "confidence."

...its terrible planning...

"The troops actually had to fight! We're doooooooomed!!!"

...and its inept conduct of the war...

Yet another accusation that's only valid if you already agree with the person making it. Brilliant.

...in return for a frank discussion of where to go from here.

But unfortunately, they're too busy holding mock impeachment hearings and calling the troops Nazis.

The president, who is going to be in office for another three and a half years...


...cannot continue to obsess about self-justification and the need to color Iraq with the memory of 9/11.

Why should he, when he could just pretend 9/11 never happened like you morons?

The nation does not want it and cannot afford it.

If by "the nation," you mean "the editorial staff of a liberal paper," then you may be right. Otherwise, you need to stop acting like you speak for anyone but yourselves.

Posted by CD on June 29, 2005 07:11 PM | TrackBack
Category: Fiskings | The War on Terror
Semi-Intelligent Comments

The NYT didn't like it...therefore it must've been good

Posted by: jaws at June 29, 2005 07:52 PM

There are not enough American soldiers to carry out the job they have been sent to do, yet the strain of maintaining even this inadequate force is taking a terrible toll on the ability of the United States to defend its security on other fronts around the world.

Well, libs, I could point out the obvious- that if that was remotely close to true, it would be the fault of y'all's hero, President "I Gutted The Military" Clinton. And, I'm curious too- just what other fronts are we talking about? Are the Canadians gonna invade us soon?

Posted by: Army NCO Guy at June 30, 2005 11:37 AM

I think they're just assuming that we're going to invade Iran and North Korea eventually, since Chimpy McWarmongerburton loves using force so much.

Incidentally, as someone who's actually in the Army, how wrong would you say the NYT assessment is in comparison to the real situation? I'm still not exactly sure who to believe here.

Posted by: CD at June 30, 2005 04:35 PM

Well, I don't know what the vision of the NCA/JCOS is for troop strengths, but I'd say we're a good bit lower than we should be. We have plenty to take care of Iraq, don't worry about that, it's just that with levels the way they are everybody has to be away from home more often than they'd like, and for longer periods of time. But as far as our "ability to defend the security of the United States"- please. Around the world, the only potential enemy who'd even put up a good fight is the PRicKs. If a war came to our soil- we could beat the snot out of every other military in the world put together before they got twenty miles inland.

Posted by: Army NCO Guy at July 1, 2005 03:11 PM
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