Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 10:29 AM
Every morning Americans wake up to the same BREAKING NEWS from Iraq: Car bombs; pipeline explosions; assassinations of Iraqi government officials; more American soldiers and even more innocent Iraqis killed; US forces on yet another offensive against insurgent positions, etc. etc.
Of course, breaking news is hardly ever good news. But where the rebuilding of Iraq is concerned, it is invariably (the same) bad news!
Therefore, it came as no surprise that last weekend 20 Americans were reported killed in Iraq amidst more car bombings, serial assassinations and general mayhem. It was instructive, however, to observe President Bush during his press conference on Monday when he was asked how he thought things were going there. Because his answer suggests that he’s suffering from a variant strain of the Groundhog day syndrome that characterizes the stalemate in Iraq.
After all, Bush replied without a hint of irony or repetition that “we’re routing out the terrorists…and enjoying tremendous success”. But this has been his unwavering refrain for almost 2 years now despite the mounting death toll of American soldiers and innocent Iraqis and frank admissions by his own generals that their war objectives have been plagued by unforeseen obstacles (like being killed by Iraqis who resent their country being occupied by Americans).
In fact, Bush seems completely averse to the realities of his war in Iraq. For it was one thing to make such upbeat and triumphant declarations 2 years ago – after US tanks stormed into Baghdad with only accidental casualties. But it seems utterly delusional to maintain such unbridle confidence today with Iraq being blown to smithereens by strikes and counterstrikes between the insurgents and US forces.
Of course, it is also instructive to recall that this is the President who when asked at another press conference just months ago if he felt he had made a single mistake as commander-in-chief of the Iraq war, he answered: “I can’t think of any….” Indeed, Bush seems constitutionally immune to admissions of human frailties and pathologically committed to rosy scenarios about Iraq – come what may.
Therefore, it’s really no wonder that Bush’s generals and foot soldiers have deployed lies and deception in the execution of his wars. And, as if manipulating intelligence about WMDs and faking the rescue of Jessica Lynch were not bad enough, it was revealed only yesterday that the military concocted an elaborate web of lies to convince Pat Tillman’s parents (and the world) that he died a hero by enemy fire when, in fact, he was killed accidentally by his fellow soldiers.
Ultimately though, notwithstanding Bush’s cheerleading, the daily bleak pictures coming out of Iraq defy his confident words a thousand times. But perhaps to appreciate how profoundly disassociated he has become from these realities, one has to think of Nero who played with his fiddle as Rome burned!
It may be that Bush had good intentions when he invaded Iraq. But good intentions cannot excuse delusional, irresponsible, incompetent and deceptive decisions that have killed so many and caused so much misery. And, despite the heroic efforts of Iraqis to set-up his puppet regime, Bush has little to show for investing (wasting) so much in Iraq. Moreover, an increasing number of Iraqis now see his promise of democracy as a diabolical misadventure because they feel as though he has led them down a primrose path to hell.
Note: To be fair to Bush, he insists that but for the living hell that he has created in Iraq, there would be no discernible move towards democracy in Libya, Lebanon, Egypt, Georgia, Ukraine and other places he would undoubtedly cite. And, if that helps him sleep at night, so be it. But if any leader has ever lived to boast of a pyrrhic victory in a war he started, that leader is George W. Bush, President of the United States!