Friday, June 01, 2007

GW Bush is for the Birds – Extending his War in Iraq

Almost unnoticed during GW Bush's 24 May al fresco press conference in the White House Rose Garden was a direct hit on Bush's navy blue suit, right above his heart, by a determined Washington, DC pigeon that dropped his milky white bomb and escaped into the wild blue yonder.

Bush knew he had been hit and fussed with the bird dropping only to make the spot worse. He then bravely continued the conference spot and all. Had it been Ronald Reagan, he would have jokingly blamed the affront on a Democratic bird. Had Bush been up to his usual barnyard humor, he could have said, THANK GOD COWS DON'T FLY. Had just one member of the gathered press, noting the President's distress, blurted out with old Sam Donaldson temerity, MR PRESIDENT, FOR MOST PEOPLE THE BIRDS SING, that reporter would have insured himself a spot in the journalist Hall Of Fame. But no guts, no glory for this hopelessly earnest press corps.

These White House press conferences are usually more theater than substance. There is, however, a taped record that can be used to haunt the president when he flip flops. In this instance, you can expect GW Bush to perform verbal acrobatics over the issue of withdrawing troops from Iraq if requested by the Iraqi government. Replying to a question by a reporter, the president said categorically, the US would withdraw troops from Iraq if this request was made by the Iraq government. You can bet by the time he returned to the oval office there were calls from his in-house Israeli lobbyist, NSC Elliot Abrams and Senator Joe Lieberman, honorary representative of the Israeli Knesset, scolding the president for his withdrawal statement; Israel wants the US to remain there forever for its own security. You can assume Big Oil agrees, but for different reasons. Prior to this Bush press conference the usual Israeli mouthpieces were contending that the US regional interest precluded US withdrawal despite what the Iraqis wanted... So folks, let us watch Bush squirm as the Israeli lobby stuffs him back into their bag. My thesis will be soon tested; al Sadr, who has sizable control in the Iraqi parliament, is back in Iraq vitriolically calling for the US to end the occupation. His chief rival in the Shiite movement, Hakim, is sick with lung cancer in Iran, so al Sadr's power will be enhanced. Meanwhile Sunni and Shiite bodies are being stacked up in Baghdad morgues in large numbers (over 700 this month) as General Petraeus' surge sputters and dies with our US troops. Uncertain how long Petraeus' argument that the surge tactics require more risks, hence more US KIA, will be sustained; he certainly did not tell us that up front as he promoted the surge before Congress. In April the US lost 104 KIA and in May it is 122. Remember how Hopeless Henry Kissinger, the Neocons, and stand-and-die Republicans agitated and begged for one last chance – well, they got it despite most military wisdom to the contrary.

Another point made in Bush's press conference was that the US should expect more blood, sweat and tears in Iraq. No more silly neocon lies about being greeted as liberators of Iraq; no rice and roses, no just a few dead enders and no planted, glowing democracy. The president is right about his expectation; the extended Iraq funding bill he just signed amounts to a death sentence for about 1100 US KIA per year at current casualty rates. It may even be higher as Petraeus' tactics continue to fail. Bush's repeated focus on September as a do-or-die status report on Iraq, sets a goal for the insurgents to kill more and faster to influence the situation. SecDef Robert Gates recently complained about stress caused for him by signing letters of condolences to the families of US forces killed in action. Gates has no corporate experience; he is a paper pusher – never been shot at – and reached his position by never challenging superiors. He left academia to be SecDef. He seems surprised that he now is expected to do other things beyond kissing his superiors' asses and throwing spit balls; unlike Rumsfeld who had such letters mechanically stamped with his signature, let us hope Gates is at least personally signing them. Mr. Gates is certainly a decent man and is not a member of the GW Bush sick neocon gaggle. Hopefully, he will influence the national policy to get our men out of harms way in Iraq.

The situation surrounding the extension of war funds is strange. Apparently several different special interests were in play. The war extension bill had billions of dollars of PORK as well as a rider to raise the minimum wage. Cynics say the Republicans and Democrats are the same bird with different wings; in this case, it seems true.

Even anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan folded her tent with disappointment over the Democrats war stance. Property values in Crawford Texas will go up with her departure. Senator Webb, who recently won his seat by his anti-war stance voted for the war to be continued – Speaker Pelosi voted against it. Pro Israeli Senators Schumer and Coleman played chicken; voted neither for it or against it. Senators Biden, Levin, and Lieberman, as usual, voted a straight pro-Israeli ticket to continue the war; Senators Obama and Clinton, both having dreams of being president, voted against it to keep from being savaged by their anti-war base. Anti-war Representative Murtha voted for extending the war. We are awaiting his explanation of how he rationalized his vote. Perhaps the most absurd conduct was that of Republican House Minority Leader Boehner, who wept publicly over his vote to extend the war. Was he off his medication? Was he drunk? Or did it bother him that he signed death warrants on American troops? All this blather to support the troops? What more hideous propaganda can we expect next? None who voted to extend the war should sleep well at night. You support the troops by ending a poorly planned and executed, pointless war. Suggest this: the we-want-more-war politicians should watch an hour of Combat Hospital on CNN, visit Walter Reed, and attend military funerals before they vote again to extend this foolish war. You got to come up with a more concrete mission other than stop terrorism. As it appears now, seems we are at war in Iraq because we do not know what else to do. And by the latest reports, the Iraq war is fueling more and more terrorism; it is like termites spreading to adjacent areas as we unintentionally fertilize their nests in Iraq...

Still our undefended president faces insulting bird attacks when outdoors unless the Secret Service can erect a Palladium for his protection.There is always sure shot Veep Cheney with his fancy fowling piece to call to stand guard, but do we want our frothing VEEP positioned that temptingly close to President with a gun? Especially a man who has a reputation of shooting people when aiming at birds. No, that is a bad idea. There is always the environmental solution to introduce falcons into the White House air space; but we will have to be careful as these predatory winged avengers will attack the turkeys that abound there. Colonel RE Bartos USA RET
Photograph: Ceramic Pigeon by Goldschieder. Austria, 1920s


Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. What happened to Jim Webb? Did he changes his mind on the war?
2. Has the press corp always been this supportive/passive? Where are the tough questions and interviews?
3. If we start a war with Iran, could the green zone be captured or overrun?
4. Why would any general or ADM want to be in charge of OIF/CENTCOM?


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