Old arguments, new excuses

In his address following two days of congressional testimony by the top two American officials in Iraq, President Bush indicated that there would be no let-up in his determination to prosecute the war for the remainder of his term. He also advanced a different rationale for fighting the war.

“Iraq is the convergence point for two of the greatest threats to America in this new century: Al Qaeda and Iran,” Bush said.

In 2003, we invaded Iraq to depose a dictator who presumably had weapons of mass destruction that were a threat to us and our allies. Saddam Hussein’s regime was quickly disposed of and the weapons turned out to be nonexistent. And despite pre-war suspicions, there was no al Qaeda in Iraq.

Still, the fighting continued. At that time, the administration said, the enemy was “bitter-enders” and Baath Party hard-liners. Soon the enemy was said to be Sunni insurgents, fearful of being displaced by a long-repressed Shiite majority. They were joined by foreign Islamic extremists who became a new entity, Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Al Qaeda and its “emirs” were so violent and radical that the Sunnis turned against them and, in an abrupt about-turn, became allied with and armed by the Americans. There are now about 90,000 of these Sunni security forces, and the al Qaeda threat, according to the U.S. military, has been reduced “significantly.”

Meanwhile, various Shiite militias would mount hit-and-run attacks against U.S. forces, largely, it appears, to establish their nationalist and religious credentials, but most of their efforts seemed directed at securing control over the country’s wealth.

That led to the paradox of the Shiite-run national government and the largely Shiite Iraqi army attacking Shiite militias in the vital port of Basra, while the United States, which had not been consulted about the attack, was largely confined to the sidelines.

The picture was further complicated by what Gen. David Petraeus called “special groups,” Shiite radicals armed and financed by Iran. These groups, Petraeus said, now pose the most significant immediate threat.

From the outset, the Bush administration has defined victory as a free and stable Iraq that is an ally in the war on terror. Somehow we’re fighting two enemies — Al Qaeda in Iraq and Shiite special groups — that didn’t exist five years ago to get to that point.


  1. Jenifer D.

    Fleeing the Country

    I still think GWB & CO plan to flee to Paraguay to escape war crimes charges when his term is up. Why do you think Dick is so flippant about the middle-east issue? These hacks wouldn’t be so ignorant, and arrogant, if they didn’t have an ‘Ace-in-the-Hole’!

  2. Elmo

    Bush’s rationalizations for why Iraq is important are worth a little less than my options to buy Enron at $65 a share.

  3. Charlie Couser

    I’m still waiting for the Dumya & Dead-Eye Dick to show-up on the streets of Bahgdad so they can both be welcomed as ‘liberators’ by overly appreciative Iraqi citizens.

  4. geb353

    The messages and excuses are always the same, every year, for longer the we spent in WWII.

    ‘We are *winning* BUT we can’t ever actually WIN…’

    ‘The Iraqis need a lot more time, to steal everything we bring in…’

    ‘If we cut and run before we are bled completely dry, the world will not like us anymore, and will not trust us to fight their wars so we can control their oil…’

    ‘Russia went dead broke fighting in the Mideast but WE WON’T, yet….’

  5. OldandSlow

    ‘Russia went dead broke fighting in the Mideast but WE WON’T, yet….’

    Wall Street investment banks are sucking up 38 billion dollars a day in low interest rate, short term loans from the Federal Reserve. The US as a whole has 3 billion dollar a day imbalance with the rest of the world, which is approximately what we spend per day in Iraq.

    The “In debt we trust” economy that we all depend on could crash around us, if we don’t take corrective measures soon.

    Andrew in Austin, TX

  6. Lese Majeste

    Why should any of the at large war criminals in the Bush/Cheney Junta flee anywhere?

    Who’s going to prosecute them for their myriad war crimes? Congress?

    Don’t hold your breath waiting on the subservient, craven and immoral Congress to investigate anything, except baseball players.

    They know damn well that any type of serious investigation would lead right back to the Congress, who are more than just co-conspirators in these massive number of war crimes.

    The next election is already fixed, thanks to an apathetic and indolent public and the proliferation of electronic voting machines.

    We’ll either get Israeli-firster Hillary or “Let’s wage war in Iraq for another 100 years” McCain.

    Moms and Dads, better get busy procreating another batch of cannon fodder that can be raised and sent off to endless ME wars.

    That’s the least we can do for the Fatherland.