2005/06/21

Bush's radio speech

The Comics Journal once did a review of a standard, basic, not-very-prominent comic. They tore it up. The author was absolutely furious with them. Their explanation went roughly: "Every now and then, we choose a really bad example of the state of the art in comics today and take it out and flog it." In that spirit, let's take a look at Bush's latest justifications for the Iraq War.

As we work to deliver opportunity at home, we're also keeping you safe from threats from abroad.

Bush couldn't point out much in the way of opportunities he had made available to Americans. He never even mentioned the employment picture, the single most important measure of opportunity.

We went to war because we were attacked,

???? When? By whom? What was the attack that prompted the war with Iraq? Oh, I get it, that flea-bitten old dog that's been used to justify everything from here to Timbuktu, 9/11! Back in the 1870s, when people used the Civil War to justify everything, other people called it "Waving the bloody shirt". Well, here's our only president, "waving the bloody shirt" of 9/11. Set aside the fact that there's a great deal of evidence that many, many people within the US and the Bush Administration appear to have been aware that 9/11 was about to occur, there has never been a smidgen of evidence that Iraq had anything whatsoever to do with it.

and we are at war today because there are still people out there who want to harm our country and hurt our citizens.

But there have been no attacks since 9/11. Oh, you mean the people who are fighting US troops in Iraq? That's quite different, of course. Defending one's country (Over 95% of the armed resistance to the US occupation is native Iraqi.) has always been the right of any person and always will be. Protesting that our intentions are good has precisely nothing to do with the issue.

Some may disagree with my decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, but all of us can agree that the world's terrorists have now made Iraq a central front in the war on terror.

I'm not so sure about that. Seems to me there's a big fight taking place there, but to be a "central front", there needs to be solidarity among Arabs. The Arab countries as a whole have to feel that the US is out to get them and that it's a matter of stopping the American offensive in Iraq or waiting for it to come to them. There are many neo-conservatives who feel the war there is just the beginning and many more Arabs believe it today than believed it in February 2003, but this is far from a general feeling. There is indeed an equivalent of America's "Lincoln Brigade" (Spanish Civil War) fighting in Iraq, but it has no official sponsorship of any discernible kind and there is no evidence that it's centrally directed.

These foreign terrorists violently oppose the rise of a free and democratic Iraq, because they know that when we replace despair and hatred with liberty and hope, they lose their recruiting grounds for terror.

Miss Manners instructed us in her column never to try and peer into the murky depths of someone else's soul. If we don't draw conclusions strictly from someone's words and actions, we're sure to make errors and misjudgments. I believe it's a mistake to try and guess what the ultimate goals and motivations of the Iraqis battling the American occupation are. The President is entirely correct however, when he points out that causing hatred in foreign lands is a really good way to provoke violence. Too bad he doesn't appear to understand that occupying an Arab country while giving the impression that he'll never leave is part of the problem. Iraqis long since concluded that America is an occupying power and that the label "liberators" stopped applying a long, long time ago.

Our troops are fighting these terrorists in Iraq so you will not have to face them here at home.

Wow! I sure hope Iraqis don't hear that. I don't think they'd appreciate being the sacrificial beasts for America's safety and security. How would Americans feel if China invades and then claims that it has to keep fighting a war that's expensive in US lives because they're trying to save Chinese lives at our expense? Bloggers discussed this "Flypaper" theory back a year or so ago and concluded it was a completely idiotic notion. There is no fixed or solid "lump of terrorism" and never will be. The number of people engaged in terroristic tactics depends on many, many factors that have very little to do with purely military responses.

We mourn every one of these brave men and women who have given his or her life for our liberty.

Very nice statement, but what does the Iraq War have to do with "our liberty"?

The terrorists know they cannot defeat our troops, so they seek to weaken our nation's resolve.

This strikes me as an accurate reading.

They know there is no room for them in a free and democratic Middle East, so the terrorists and insurgents are trying to get us to retreat. Their goal is to get us to leave before Iraqis have had a chance to show the region what a government that is elected and truly accountable to its citizens can do for its people.

Again, much too much mind-reading here. Bush is reading far too much about the goals and motivations of our armed opponents into what can discern from their actions. Accountability is a sick joke when one considers that "contractors" (i.e. mercenaries) are accountable to neither the American military chain of command nor to the Iraqi government. The CPA was never in control enough to do anything with them either. If an Iraqi gets roughed up or killed by a mercenary? Too bad, so sad.

Time and again, the Iraqi people have defied the skeptics who claim they are not up to the job of building a free society. Nearly a year ago, Iraqis showed they were ready to resume sovereignty. A few months ago, Iraqis showed they could hold free elections. This week, Iraqis have worked on an agreement to expand their constitutional drafting committee to ensure that all communities are represented in the process. I am confident that Iraqis will continue to defy the skeptics as they build a new Iraq that represents the diversity of their nation and assumes greater responsibility for their own security.

People in the right wing may have claimed that Iraqis aren't up to the task of being free. Bush has been suggesting for years that the left doesn't have any such faith. He's never supplied a shred of evidence.

And when they do, our troops can come home with the honor they have earned.

Senator John Kerry pointed out late in the campaign of 2004 that the US was building bases that looked awfully permanent to his eyes. I'll consider Bush's promise a lie until I see evidence to the contrary.

This mission isn't easy, and it will not be accomplished overnight.

What exactly IS the mission? Having some idea of what the US is trying to achieve there would help. It's impossible to gauge how long the mission will be if no one has any idea what the endpoint looks like.

We're fighting a ruthless enemy that relishes the killing of innocent men, women, and children.

What turns them on even more is hastening the end of the American occupation of their country. The killing of innocents has always been part of the war over there, but the great majority of attacks have taken place against soldiers. Do they "relish" killing innocents? Again, this is mind-reading. Bush is trying to tell at a distance of 6,000+ miles what is in their souls.

By making their stand in Iraq, the terrorists have made Iraq a vital test for the future security of our country and the free world. We will settle for nothing less than victory.

"We" white man? I don't see you or anyone you know giving their sons or daughters to the fight. Far as we can see, conservatives have "other priorities". Awfully nice of Bush to make a commitment in our name while refusing to call upon right-wingers to enlist or urging his political allies to sign people up.

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