Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Babbling Bush

Mister Bush, explaining to Brian Williams (exclusively) why he disagrees with Congressman Jack Murtha's plan to redeploy troops from Iraq. Talk of withdrawal…

-- emboldens the insurgents

-- sends the wrong signal to the Iraqis

-- dispirits out troops.

You know: the standard menu of tommyrot.

It's not entirely clear how much bolder the insurgents can get. They seem to strike at will as it is. And anecdotal evidence from our own generals is that our presence in Iraq emboldens them more than our absence would.

Mister Bush might want to quit worrying about what signals he's sending the Iraqis and listening to the signals they're sending him. 80 percent of them want us gone. The interim leaders of the country signed a letter to that effect at the recent Arab League conference.

Dispirit the troops? Excuse me. I'm as big a "support the troops" kind of guy as you're likely to find, but let's get real clear on something. The United States of America doesn't exist to support its military. It's the other way around. It's beyond ludicrous to suggest that Americans should support a war in order to keep its troops happy, or that such a thing would keep the troops happy.

If Mister Bush really wants to keep the troops happy, he'll get off the dime and tell them what he actually wants them to accomplish. Unless, of course, he's afraid to do that because the reason he sent them to Iraq is different from the reason he gave them (and the rest of us) when he sent them there.

In fact, if Mister Bush really wanted to boost the troops' morale, he'd keep his mouth shut, because every time he opens it he reinforces the growing perception that he's a liar, a lunatic, or both.


  1. I can't recall when I've been sicker of hearing "support the troops" as if it were OUR HOMETOWN HEROES football team.

    "It is well that war is so terrible — lest we should grow too fond of it." — Robert E. Lee

    That's the PR side, the media management of perception -- just one part.

    The other part is the profit motive. There wouldn't be war if there wasn't profit in it, for someone.

    But these are things, conditions, concepts, that exist in reality. W lives in his own fantasy world.

  2. Profit. Yes. I think you commented on my earlier pieces on the military industrial complex. When our service secretaries are all former execs with the big defense contractors and cronies with all the big policy makers, it's likely that wars will be the key component of policy.

  3. Anonymous3:43 PM

    In the original version of his final speech, Eisenhower referred to the "military-industrial-congessional complex" but his advisers suggested he take out the "congressional" which he did.

    Too bad. He had it right the first time.

  4. There's a difference between supporting the troops and supporting the policy, or even the administration. Right now you have a bunch of eighteen year old kids who are dying simply because those are their orders. I think that it's the GOVERNMENT who needs to start supporting the troops. Any kid who will carry a rifle and die so that I have the right to criticize the policies of the government that sent him there has my utmost respect.

    Someone once said of patriotism, "Patriotism is supporting your country always and supporting your government when they deserve it." I think it was Mark Twain, but I can't seem to track it down.

  5. You're right. From what I've read, he wanted to make peace with Congress. But in retrospect, he should have stuck with his original draft.

  6. Sadiq,

    Yeah, I think it was Twain who said. Important distinction, between country and government.

  7. Wikiquote is the coolest: