Tuesday, May 25, 2004

June 30th hand-over of power

The sad thing about the pitiful speech was that the audience was a pretty smart one, one that already knows Bush & Co's tactics in the "war on terror" have been a failure and war in Iraq a "distraction."

The "101st Fighting Keyboarders," as Atrios calls them, hear what they want to hear.

My own sense of what was new was the clear and emphatic declaration that the transfer of sovereignty June 30 will be real. That's critical - and critical to deliver. I also liked the way the president unapologetically linked what we are doing in Iraq with the broader war on terror. Critics like to believe that Saddam was somehow utterly unconnected to broader terror, had no potential to enable it, and was too secular to cooperate with al Qaeda. They're wrong on all counts. In the wake of 9/11, a Saddam-Zarqawi alliance would have been a terrible threat. Now we have a Baathist-Zarqawi insurgency.

Little Roy Cohn is a bit crazed. The "transfer of sovereignty June 30 will be real?" When an "interim government" can not pass laws or control security forces? When a grossly inadequate occupation force of 138,000 US troops will be on the ground (facing attack and, subsequently, retaliating)? I am not of the cut and run brigade, but let's be real and stop using words like sovereignty to describe what we're handing the Iraqis on June 30.

And Bush's continued equation of Saddam and al Qaeda is simply wrong, both factually and policy-wise. Under Saddam, Zarqawi operated in the no-fly/no-drive zone of northern Iraq. In fact, at any time before the war, U.S. special forces, predator drones, a cruise missile, or even the Kurds, could have taken him and his thugs out. Bush didn't give the order, since he was a useful faux argument for invasion. The policy implications of that are scary.

No, in a speech that even Republicans thought would suggest a mid-course correction or two, Bush proved he's resolute and steadfast. Resolutely stupid and steadfastly ignorant.

As one historian noted, Lincoln was resolute in saving the Union. But if he hadn't understood the initial problems and fired McClellan, there would still be slave auctions in Savannah.


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