Sunday, December 10, 2006

Dec. 18th: Bush to Announce Reason for Invasion

LithiumCola at DailyKos has what should be a shocking revelation: GWB's not desperately seeking a 'how' regarding Iraq, he's still looking for a 'why' that won't make him look like an idiot and a failure.
Maybe you've heard that the President is going to give a hoo-daddy big speech on Dec. 18. Just in time for Christmas.

This speech is, believe it or not, going to be important. Bush is going to lay out the results of all his thinkin' on the way forward, on Iraq, on what the Baker Group and the Pentagon Group and the White House Group and the Blue Man Group advise. (Okay, not the Blue Man Group.) He's gonna compress all that advice into a diamond of perfected wisdom, and tell us about it on Dec. 18.

He's going to tell us about the next two years of our involvment in Iraq, in other words. But here's a secret: what he's really going to do is tell us why we're in Iraq in the first place. See, he doesn't know yet. But his people promise that he'll have it figured out in time for the Dec. 18th speech. Surprised? Read on . . .

Next week, Bush is going to visit the State Department and the Pentagon to consult with them on "the way forward". He hasn't made a final decision yet on the way forward (more on this later), but the three most likely future paths from which he will choose are already known.

The major alternatives include a short-term surge of 15,000 to 30,000 additional U.S. troops to secure Baghdad and accelerate the training of Iraqi forces. Another strategy would redirect the U.S. military away from the internal strife to focus mainly on hunting terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda. And the third would concentrate political attention on supporting the majority Shiites and abandon U.S. efforts to reach out to Sunni insurgents.

So, Bush is going to say our strategy will be one of the following:

(1) More American troops. Fight insurgents. Secure Baghdad. Train Iraqi troops.

(2) Stop fighting the insurgents. Go after Al Qaeda.

(3) Side with the Shiites.

Notice anything?

What I notice, first, about these three options is how they seem to have no common theme. Bush is going to give a major talk in (checking watch) nine days about the future of the American troop presence in Iraq, the defining policy of not just his Presidency but of American foriegn policy in the 21st Century . . . and he's still trying to decide, at a very basic level, what the hell we're doing there.

Are we siding with the Shiites, or not? Are we going after Al Qaeda, or not? Should we be fighting the insurgents, or not?

Bush is trying to figure out which of those reasons is why we're in Iraq. And he'll tell us in time for Christmas. Well . . . shit; it's not a Playstation 3 but I guess it's better than nothing.

Now . . . back that to that thing I said I'd get back to:

Bush will devote most of next week to his Iraq review. He plans to visit the State Department on Monday to consult with his foreign policy team, then he will host independent Iraq experts in the Oval Office. The next day, he will hold a videoconference with U.S. military commanders and U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad in Iraq. He will travel to the Pentagon for more consultations on Wednesday.

That's how Bush is going to get ready for the hoo-daddy Dec. 18th speech.

Do you notice anything the slightest bit odd about that paragraph? I do. Take a minute. Think about it.

What's odd is that this must be exactly what Bush's people told the reporters. "He's going to visit the State Department. He's going to visit the Pentagon. He's going to teleconference with Khalizad."

Obvious question: why? Why is Bush going to "travel to the Pentagon."? Why is he going to "visit the State Department"? Isn't that a rather absurd way for the President to be getting advice?

Obvious answer: So he can say in his Dec. 18 speech: "I travelled to the Pentagon. I visited the State Department. I teleconferenced with Khalizad." Bush's people are going to shuttle him around to these places, where he'll sit, bored, and say stuff every now then, when Condi nudges him. And there will be cameras taking pictures. Pictures pictures pictures. Which, I take it, is the real point of this charade: to show Bush in action.

All of which will cloud the astonishing fact that Bush's three options have no common theme.

The Washington Post story where I got these quotes starts like this:

As pressure mounts for a change of course in Iraq, the Bush administration is groping for a viable new strategy for the president to unveil by Christmas, with deliberations now focused on three main options to redefine the U.S. military and political engagement, according to officials familiar with the debate.

"Groping for a viable new strategy . . ."

But that's not right, he's not groping for a strategy to achieve a previously established goal. Look at the options again. He's groping for a goal.

He's going to tell us about Iraq on Dec. 18, and as of now he's shopping for a reason why we're there.

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