Here are a couple of differences. This augmentation was announced by the President. Whereas others were seen as normal adjustments to the "realities" on the ground, this one was perceived by the White House as different because of a couple factors. The first factor is that the Baker Commission report was on the table when this augmentation was about to be executed. It was perceived by Rove and Bush and Cheney that under the circumstances of them ignoring the Report, they should at least try to make some sort of rebuttal to the Report, and Bush drew the short straw ... he is Commander in Chief, you know. It was (another) mistake. They should have just done it quietly and waited six months for the press to catch on and there would have been no threat of a resolution in Congress asking, begging, cajoling them to stop it.
Another reason for the speech two weeks ago was that Rumsfeld was blatantly gone. Bush and Cheney needed to show some kind of change in policy. The troop strength problem, which had existed from the moment Baghdad fell back in 2003 ... the policy of Rumsfeld who was convinced that American technology would beat any foe, ... that discredited policy had to be visibly and publically changed. They went to the trouble of firing Rumsfeld, so following up with a reversal of his most odious policy was a no-brainer! Well, maybe. Rove and Cheney forgot that not everyone believes Bush anymore, so going out with their pseudo change backed their boy right into the threshing machine.
Congress and the national press (if MSNBC is any litmus test) seemed taken aback by Bush's mention of Iran and Syria in the same breath with Iraq. What somnamulistic state has this press been afflicted with lo these past dozen years and what depths of unconsciousness have overcome them these past six years! We hear from Senator Chuck Hagel, now that he has had the blinders removed, that the original draft of the resolution to invade Iraq-as penned in the White House and delivered to the then Republican majority for passage-was not an invitation to just invade Iraq, but rather the target mentioned throughout the White House draft of the document was "the middle east."
If you have been reading these epistles with any regularity, you will know that even a person sitting alone reading the web could come to the conclusion months and months ago that the "war aims" of the Bush administration were not what have been advertised, but rather quite a bit more extensive and centered on a thorough remaking of the middle east, not to exclude opportunistic regime change in Iran, Syria, and anyplace else within range of CentCom HQ. Senator Chuck Hagel's revelation should have leaked to the press a long time ago, and I suspect it did, but was squashed by corporate interests. Nevertheless, the cat is out of that bag. And the war goes on.
It is a matter of elementary social intercourse that silence is assent. It does not matter that no one says aloud that the emperor has no clothes. If he is naked then he has no clothes, period. A war fabricated on the idea that Saddam Hussein was collaborating with al Qaeda and had or would almost immediately have weapons of mass destruction to share with al Qaeda and to use himself against, say, Israel, which in short order turns out to be nothing of the sort, is plain enough for all to see. This emperor is naked as a jaybird! His war is nothing less than the implementation of the radical Project for a New American Century (PNAC) agenda. It always has been thus, but Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld left themselves a parcel of deniability by forgetting to tell us and the Democrats in Congress what they were actually doing.
To say that it is unconscionable that Congress and the press have not picked up and addressed this incredible deception is to understate the case by ten orders of magnitude. It is preposterous that a free nation in its pretense of democracy could be gulled along like this by accident. The facts just add up to something besides an accident, to something besides the war going badly suddenly or even to something like the Sunni destruction of Shi'ia's Golden Mosque being called the "turning point." This atrocity of a war has been a crock of excrement since Day One with so many spoons stirring the broth from so many different sectors of the nation that the mind boggles at the intrepidity of all the participants.
It could be that different sectors were let in on the lie in stages and given various kinds of candy for their trouble. It does not relieve them of complicity. They know it as it unravels, and that is why the trickle of truth is now becoming a rivulet and then a flow. By slow measures we will come to understand the massive crime perpetrated in our name, but because of the pace of truth the spoons will go free, the architects of this nightmare will be sorted to a few and their names allowed to suffer the pallid indignities of national exposure. The news cycle will cycle and the long silence of Senator Hagel and his colleagues will be forgotten in the enthusiasm of finally seeing way to understand the "war on terrorism" for what it is and what it is not.
There is no rational hope left that Iraq will choose to forget its natural tribal and ethnic inclinations, especially not just because Americans are embarrassed by their foolishness. The peoples of Mesopotamia will exercise their traditions of getting even above all other imperatives. Clans will set upon other clans, and tribes on tribes. The implications will drift like spores across the lands of the middle east and, exploiting the religious schism between them, infect all the peoples of the region. If America fails despite the incantation that we must not, what then? Cheney will have his murderous chaos and Bush his apocalypse!