"For my part, if a lie may do thee grace,
I'll gild it with the happiest terms I have." -- Shakespeare
Bush 'new' plan for Iraq will reportedly be presented to the American public on Wednesday - over 70% of whom disagree with Bush's present handling of the occupation. Not surprisingly, the reported details Bush will unveil signal his intention to dig our soldiers even deeper into the Iraq quagmire as he looks to accomplish many of the same unrealistic goals which he's sacrificed over 3,000 American lives to achieve in the almost 4 years since the initial invasion.
Some of the 'benchmarks' reported by the NYT which Bush intends to present are: provincial elections in the Sunni areas of Iraq, the crafting of a oil agreement to spread the revenue among the various factions, and an effort to bring back some of the Batthists who were initially excluded from government and military participation in the new regime.
All of these 'benchmarks' would be facilitated by Bush's planned influx of reinforcements for the beleaguered U.S. troops already hunkered down there. Yet these are not goals which our troops can bring about for the Iraqis. These are political ambitions. The day to day role our soldiers will play in Iraq will be the same struggle to survive they've been forced to endure all along as their commanders insist on wedging them between the warring factions. They can't do this indefinitely, and there's really no way of determining which Iraqis they're killing and maiming with their aggression are insurgent, and which Iraqis they're confronting are the ones they're supposed to be liberating.
"This is not an open-ended commitment," the NYT quoted one senior administration official as saying. Yet, there doesn't appear to be any concrete goal that Bush could reasonably set for the preservation and development of the new Iraqi regime which could be achieved with the numbers of additional soldiers contemplated by Bush (20,000 troops), or with the 10,000, or so, the Pentagon is indicating are combat-ready and available to deploy.
More troubling is the report today from CNN that Bush is considering "phasing in" the 20,000 soldiers he wants to send to Iraq. Instead of a temporary "surge" of troops for a specific mission, as our Democratic leaders have said they would consider on merit, Bush is reportedly going to try to slip them into Iraq in stages. One reason for the incremental escalation may be a basic lack of available combat-ready soldiers. Another reason may be that Bush is just exercising the same deceptive manipulation of his authority which he used to talk our nation into Iraq in the first place. Maybe he thinks no one will notice that he's put more of our nation's defenders' lives on the line for his discredited occupation if he dribbles them in a few at a time.
No matter, though. An escalation is still an escalation. That's the opposite of what voters demanded in November when they removed his legislative majority. The more than 70% of Americans who disapprove of Bush's handling of Iraq will recognize Bush's planned deployment as another attempt to tie our nation even closer to the fate of the unpopular Maliki regime which our troops are protecting with their lives and their livelihoods.
Moreover, the "phased" escalation is an attempt by Bush to draw out the U.S. involvement in Iraq even further, as the excuse will almost certainly be offered that, enough troops haven't arrived yet and more time is needed to get them in place and working. Apart from the question of why a "surge" is even needed as part of an exit plan (which Bush's is clearly not), there's the question of what such a limited force could actually achieve outside of adding to the tally of those already fighting and dying in the middle of Iraq's civil war.
The entire long-term nature of Bush's planned escalation of the occupation should be a non-starter with the leaders of our Democratic majority. Americans voted for a way out of Iraq, not for a "New Way Forward" as Bush has reportedly titled his plan. He wants to put a 'signing statement' on the results of the last election and cast aside the public opinion which is so overwhelmingly opposed to what he's doing in Iraq.
Americans heard more than enough of Bush as he raced through his 'fear and smear' campaign, ripping into critics of his Iraq fiasco as traitors and terrorist enablers. The nation's citizens registered their opposition to that campaign for the occupation by electing folks who promised a 'new direction' in Iraq. We should all take heed of the president as he, once again, disregards the will of Congress, the American people, and the international community, and pushes forward with his unilateral militarism in Iraq.
This is clearly Bush's latest attempt to perpetuate his Iraq occupation with more lies, and that miserable failure should be taken out of his hands at the first opportunity; before he allows even more of our nation's defenders to die in defense of his bloody folly.