Thursday, October 06, 2005

Bush's speech today

I wish I could've heard stirring words today, a detailed plan of what we hope to achieve and when we will get out. Instead I heard more of the same old.

The right is trying so hard to discredit this claim, but it is quite apparent now President Bush has become like Lyndon Baines Johnson, over his head with Iraq, unsure what to do, propping up an unsteady government and nation with more and more soldiers' lives while the situation doesn't improve. My friend Wally was wounded there earlier this year. Over the holidays last year, he barely wanted to talk about it. The only thing he said was that he wished there was more coverage of the positive things they were doing.

The problem we have is that our positive things have been overshadowed by the awful negative things (Abu Ghraib, shooting up a vehicle with kids inside, high gas prices, hundreds dying at a time from bombs). It's hard to be positive in those situations if you're the average Iraqi.

LBJ and his cabinet continued on in the face of mounting signs that things were going bad. They didn't change tactics, and they didn't try to bring in people who were Asian experts, as opposed to Communist experts. This isn't a fight of terrorism. This is an ethnic battle. The Sunnis are fighting us because they believe that we are going to let the Shiites massacre them. We haven't done nearly enough to bring them into the fold and give them something concrete to show that they will be alright. They were in power for a long time, and did a lot of things that they know Shiites will want to avenge. We saw that earlier this week, when the Shiites briefly made it so the Sunnis would have no way of defeating the constitution they by and large wrote. Under our pressure, they reversed course. How long is this situation going to last? Unless someone like Sistani himself goes on national television and calls for reconciliation and teamwork, Iraq will become a failed state, regardless of how long we stay. We were in Vietnam for 13 years, and if we'd left after two years, the situation might have ended up better than what we finished with, an ignomious defeat, a national scar, and the image of us running away.

We don't want that in Iraq. We want a compromise forged by all sides, and we have to do that from a diplomatic standpoint. We cannot do it with our military, which is fighting a battle in which domestic political projections have trumped reality. Mideast experts, Islamic experts, and Iraqi experts have not been listened to. Ahmed Chalabi and friends were the people Bush consulted, and they failed us. We need to right the ship with a dramatic, detailed course change, or the ship is going to sink, and God help us and the world when it does.


Post a Comment

<< Home