Monday, December 19, 2005

Public Address From The Ministry Of Truth

The average Bush speech generally contains as little actual information as possible, couched in a delivery that is likely a violation of the Geneva Convention Against Torture. However, it is sometimes possible to glean a little truth from the propaganda when it's taken in written form. Let's take a look at President Bush's "Year in Review" speech and see what's on the mind of the world's most powerful faux-Texan.

This election will not mean the end of violence. But it is the beginning of something new: constitutional democracy at the heart of the Middle East. And this vote -- 6,000 miles away, in a vital region of the world -- means that America has an ally of growing strength in the fight against terror.

So long as we're occupying Iraq, the violence will never end, no matter how many elections Iraq has. Plus, that violence allows the Iraqi government to essentially declare martial law under their constitution, which they've done already. Not much democracy going on in a police state. I have to say that I appreciate the President validating my "A Mirage In The Desert" post; he clearly knows that the Iraqi government will be on our side regardless of the election's outcome.

From this office, nearly three years ago, I announced the start of military operations in Iraq. Our coalition confronted a regime that defied United Nations Security Council resolutions, violated a cease-fire agreement, sponsored terrorism, and possessed, we believed, weapons of mass destruction. After the swift fall of Baghdad, we found mass graves filled by a dictator; we found some capacity to restart programs to produce weapons of mass destruction, but we did not find those weapons.

Interesting that Republicans always support U.N. resolutions when it fits their political goals. Iraq is certainly not the only country to violate U.N. Security Council resolutions. Add China, North Korea, India, Pakistan and Israel, all nuclear powers, to that list as well. There is no credible evidence that Saddam Hussein was supporting terrorists of any kind, and certainly not Al-Qaida. Osama Bin Ladin was as much an enemy of Hussein's as he is of Bush's. No one has ever argued that Saddam Hussein was not a brutal dictator either, but that was not the reason we went to war in Iraq. There are brutal dictators all over the world, some of which are allies of the United States, and we haven't invaded any of those nations yet. Finally, no credible evidence has yet been found of any credible WMD programs in Iraq.

It is true that Saddam Hussein had a history of pursuing and using weapons of mass destruction. It is true that he systematically concealed those programs, and blocked the work of U.N. weapons inspectors. It is true that many nations believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. But much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As your President, I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq. Yet it was right to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

Weapons that the Reagan administration provided him with in exchange for Hussein's stance against Iran. I challenge the notion also that chemical weapons or biological agents are "weapons of mass destruction" anyway. Such a definition is more political spin than an actual descriptor of destructive capabilities. Further, what right does a nation packing a nuclear arsenal 10,000+ warheads strong have to tell other nations to disarm? While it's nice that Bush is admitting that responsibility for the war is his, admitting is not the same thing as demonstrating accountability. Bush admits that the intelligence was wrong and yet he awarded former CIA director George "It's a slam dunk!" Tenant with the Medal of Honor for his work! Essentially, Bush invaded Iraq because Saddam Hussein refused to disarm himself of weapons he didn't possess and then Bush rewarded a government official whose job it was to know this.

Finally, it is NOT right that the United States unilaterally removed Hussein from power. It is "right" that he's gone from power as he was a brutal tyrant that abused the citizenry of the nation he ruled. However, not every end justifies every means. The U.S. is not the sole arbiter of world morality, nor justified in using its military power to enforce that morality.

He was given an ultimatum -- and he made his choice for war. And the result of that war was to rid a -- the world of a murderous dictator who menaced his people, invaded his neighbors, and declared America to be his enemy. Saddam Hussein, captured and jailed, is still the same raging tyrant -- only now without a throne. His power to harm a single man, woman, or child is gone forever. And the world is better for it.

Again, Saddam Hussein was given an ultimatum to divest himself of weaponry that he didn't have. The choice for war was made, but not by Saddam Hussein. Also, it's impossible to understand how Bush can chastise Saddam Hussein for killing Iraqis after admitting last week that the U.S. invasion and occupation has killed at least 30,000 Iraqis as well. So Bush believes that murdering people by the thousands is just fine so long as you don't govern them first? Finally, Bush's "enemy of America" defense for invading Iraq sets a very frightening precedent. Imagine what could happen if suddenly China and Russia decided that being an enemy of either was grounds for an invasion? Not a pretty picture at all.

The reality is that for all his apparent personal feelings about Saddam Hussein, Bush just cannot credibly spin him into the super villain needed to justify thousands of Iraqi and American dead.

Since the removal of Saddam, this war, like other wars in our history, has been difficult. The mission of American troops in urban raids and desert patrols, fighting Saddam loyalists and foreign terrorists, has brought danger and suffering and loss. This loss has caused sorrow for our whole nation -- and it has led some to ask if we are creating more problems than we're solving.

That is an important question, and the answer depends on your view of the war on terror. If you think the terrorists would become peaceful if only America would stop provoking them, then it might make sense to leave them alone.

There is probably not one person on the planet that actually believes that "the terrorists" will leave the U.S. alone if we just stopped provoking them. Bush, like all Republicans, is intimately familiar with the straw man fallacy and clumsily dumps it out here once again. However, it likely is true that much if not most of the danger to the U.S. from terrorism could be mitigated by better U.S. foreign policy. Certainly occupying Iraq is having the exact opposite effect.

George W. Bush talking about the difficulty of the war is a slap in the face to those actually forced to fight and die in it. What sacrifice has Bush made for his war, or any war the U.S. has fought in his lifetime? None whatsoever. One more cynical attempt to spin the loyalty of the military to the Commander in Chief into a political advantage for the Republicans. I imagine that such abuse of the military is not going unnoticed in the ranks.

The rest of the speech goes on in much the same vein. Many lies and half-truths peppered with ignorant jingoism. Fortunately, a greater number of Americans today seem to be realizing that their President is an empty suit, long on rhetoric and short on effective leadership. This speech, like all of Bush's speeches, is nothing more than a ham-handed attempt at dredging up public support for his failed policies. Instead, they serve as a lesson in electoral politics: that wealthy connections and fake accents are no substitute for competency and integrity.

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