Saturday, July 14, 2007

More time...

Glancing over the news, I see that Secretary of State Rice has been pleading for more time for the Bush administration's plans in Iraq. While everyone on the planet can see that it was a ridiculous failure, she's asking for us to have patience, to wait for his strategy to work.

Now, first, let's cut through the crap. The Bush administration's strategy is "don't admit that Bush's plan was idiotic and a complete failure from the post-invasion on, and hope that the accumulated weight of hundreds of blunders by the Bush administration doesn't make the failure look big enough to upset the American people enough to call for impeachment for Bush's dishonesty in pushing the war."

That's not a military (or even a diplomatic) strategy. It's more of the same ideas that got us into this mess in the first place. And while the Bushies keep insisting that if we pull out, it'll cause big problems, remember that we wouldn't face that decision if Bush hadn't ordered the invasion in the first place.

But I'm not here to talk about Bush's failures and dishonesty... I want to talk about irony and hypocrisy.

You see, we've heard "Please, give it some time" before. We've heard people talking about letting the plan have time to work, and let the established channels do their job and not rush things... back in 2003.

The UN inspectors were back in Iraq; while Saddam was still being Saddam, he was giving cooperation that satisfied the inspection teams. The international community asked for time to let the inspections and sanctions work, to give the world a chance to show that maybe the threat of Saddam Hussein could be shown to be completely neutralized without having to kill thousands of innocent people through military action. "Give it time to work; give peaceful means a chance."

The Bushies weren't satisfied with that, were they? No, they said that if the UN wasn't on board with a war on Bush's terms, on Bush's timelines, they risked being "permanently irrelevant". Giving more time for peace, to leave a country less damaged, to keep millions of people suffering, to keep tens of thousands (in fact, probably hundreds of thousands) of people alive, well, that wasn't acceptable.

It's not just that Bush has to have his way. It's that, even when he is clearly, objectively wrong, when his plan is a failure by any meaningful measure, people are not merely wrong, but stupidly wrong, if they don't go along.

He should be given the courtesy that he refused to give when he had the chance. He should be allowed to continue war, when he refused to continue peace. He should be allowed to keep killing people, when he refused to delay the killing. He should be allowed to continue the suffering of the Iraqi people, when he refused to delay that suffering.

It's ironic, and it's hypocritical, though it's long past time that we can be surprised by this.

But what never ceases to surprise me is the shamelessness and the undeserved arrogance of the Bushies. This war has cost hundreds of billions of dollars. This war has cost the lives of over 3000 of our best and brightest, and has resulted in the deaths of probably hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Is there any hint of humility from the Bushies? Is there any pleading, anyone saying "we know we made a horrible mess of things, but we're asking you to let us continue, to try to fix some of the terrible blunders we made?" No... they're still pretending that, if things go right in spite of all of their blunders, that they can declare they've won a victory.

Arrogance can be forgiven when it's justified, but misarrogance - arrogance in the absence of any justification for it - is completely unforgivable. Coupled with shamelessness, there's no telling what damage can be done.

But if you look at Iraq, you can get a pretty good idea.

I can only hope that Congress finally chooses to stand firm. Giving Bush more time for his botched war would be the very height of irresponsibility.

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