Despite the talk about US troops leaving Iraq as soon as the disheveled country can defend itself, the real timeline is blowing in the wind, and it’s a long-range wind. Although Decider George’s so-called “surge” has seen some improvements, Iraq will most likely never be able to stand on it own two feet.
- The Iraqi defense minister said Monday that his nation would not be able to take full responsibility for its internal security until 2012, nor be able on its own to defend its borders from external threat until at least 2018.
Those comments from the minister, Abdul Qadir, were among the most specific public projections of a timeline for the American commitment in Iraq by officials in either Washington or Baghdad. And they suggested a longer commitment than either government had previously indicated.
Pentagon officials expressed no surprise at Mr. Qadirâ€™s projections, which were even less optimistic than those he made last year.
President Bush has never given a date for a military withdrawal from Iraq but has repeatedly said that American forces would stand down as Iraqi forces stand up. Given Mr. Qadirâ€™s assessment of Iraqâ€™s military capabilities on Monday, such a withdrawal appeared to be quite distant, and further away than any American officials have previously stated in public.
— New York Times, (1/15/08)
As Decider George trips across the Mid East this week running his arrogant, ignorant mouth, he’s exposed as a guy out of touch with reality. Even undermining his own country.
- In public, President Bush has been careful to reassure Israel and other allies that he still sees Iran as a threat, while not disavowing his administration’s recent National Intelligence Estimate. That NIE, made public Dec. 3, embarrassed the administration by concluding that Tehran had halted its weapons program in 2003, which seemed to undermine years of bellicose rhetoric from Bush and other senior officials about Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But in private conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week, the president all but disowned the document, said a senior administration official who accompanied Bush on his six-nation trip to the Mideast. “He told the Israelis that he can’t control what the intelligence community says, but that [the NIE’s] conclusions don’t reflect his own views” about Iran’s nuclear-weapons program, said the official, who would discuss intelligence matters only on the condition of anonymity.
— Newsweek, (1/21/08 issue)
“His own views…” There doesn’t seem to be any connection between democracy and Decider George.
As he dines in decadent opulence in lavish tents and jeweled mansions of oil-rich sheiks on the Persian Gulf, the New York Times ran a well-researched piece on the downside of war at home. The article said at least 121 GIs have been involved in killings since arriving back stateside from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. “In many of those cases, combat trauma and the stress of deployment â€” along with alcohol abuse, family discord and other attendant problems â€” appear to have set the stage for a tragedy that was part destruction, part self-destruction,” the Times story read. The long, detailed Times piece should be required reading for all US peoples.
Which leads to this:
- On Dec. 12, Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, called a hearing on “Stopping Suicides: Mental Health Challenges Within the Department of Veterans Affairs.” At that hearing suggestions were raised and conversations begun that hopefully will bear fruit.
But I find myself extremely anxious in the face of some of these new suggestions, specifically what is being called the Psychological Kevlar Act of 2007 and use of the drug propranalol to treat the symptoms of post-traumatic stress injuries. Though both, at least in theory, sound entirely reasonable, even desirable, in the wrong hands, under the wrong leadership, they could make the sci-fi fantasies of Blade Runner seem prescient.
The Psychological Kevlar Act “directs the secretary of defense to develop and implement a plan to incorporate preventive and early-intervention measures, practices or procedures that reduce the likelihood that personnel in combat will develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other stress-related psychopathologies, including substance use conditions. (Kevlar, a DuPont fiber, is an essential component of U.S. military helmets and bullet-proof vests advertised to be “five times stronger than steel.”) The stated purpose of this legislation is to make American soldiers less vulnerable to the combat stressors that so often result in psychic injuries.
— Penny Coleman, Alternet, 1/10/08
Not only have both theaters of war gone badly in the field, the horrors of participation have come home and will fester in the American psyche for a generation.
And in an interview with ABC News earlier this week, Decider George came across as someone that’s either near-about insane, or just doesn’t give a fat-rat’s ass:
- In Riyadh today, the president participated in a traditional sword dance with one of the princes of the royal family. It was a public â€” and a little awkward â€” display of affection, all part of Bush’s first visit to Saudi Arabia aimed at repairing strained relations between the world’s biggest oil producer and the world’s biggest oil consumer.
“My image [is] ‘Bush wants to fight Muslims.’ And, yes, I’m concerned about it. Not because of me, personally. I’m concerned because I want most people to understand the great generosity and compassion of Americans,” he said.
“I’m sure people view me as a warmonger and I view myself as peacemaker,” the president said. “They view me as so pro-Israeli I can’t be open-minded about Palestinian peace, and yet I’m the only president ever to have articulated a two-state solution. And you just have to fight through stereotypes by actions.”
Bush said despite Saudi Arabia’s connection to some of the Sept. 11 hijackers and terrorism ideology in general, he views the Saudis as “our friends.” He spoke of meeting with Saudi entrepreneurs and business leaders during his trip who worry that Americans view them as enemies, not friends.
“There’s a lot of really good people here,” Bush said. “Look, you can’t deny the fact that some, a majority, of the terrorists came from Saudi, but you should not condemn an entire society based upon the actions of a handful of killers.”
When asked to respond to the fact that many Americans do not view him as a peacemaker, the president replied, “We’ll see what history says. I happen to believe that the actions I’ve taken were necessary to protect ourselves and lay the foundation for peace. That’s what I believe. But history â€” I’ve often said this â€” I don’t think the history of my administration is going to be written during your time as a newscaster, or my time on Earth. I believe that it’s going to take a while for people to determine whether or not the foundation of peace has truly been laid.”
— ABC News, (1/15/08)
Most Americans, however, do view Decider George as a failure. In the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll released this week, just 32 percent approve of the way President Bush is handling his job. The summary rating had been stuck at 33 percent from July to December.
The president has not enjoyed an approval rating above 50 percent since January of 2005, and those disapproving “strongly” continue to outnumber strong approvers by greater than 3 to 1.
Why do US peoples dislike Decider George? Outside of the fact everything he touches turns to lethal dog shit? One point that’s catching on — he’s a half-truth-sayer of complete lies:
- Bush heaped praise on his hosts, the rulers of the United Arab Emirates, for luring foreign investment and “building a prosperous society out of the desert.”
Left out, noted analyst Manar Shorbagy, an associate professor who teaches a course on U.S. politics at the American University in Cairo, was the ill-fitting fact that Iran is the country’s No. 1 trade partner.
Also unmentioned was the UAE’s role as an important conduit for Iranian imports in spite of U.S.-backed economic sanctions. Moreover, a large and thriving Iranian expatriate community is central to commerce and society in Abu Dhabi and its more glamorous sister city, the commercial hub of Dubai.
— McClatchy Newspapers, (1/13/08)
One waits with frustration and impatience for Decider George to return next year to his own Texas sandbox.