"We're making progress because of -- we've got a strategy for victory" --Bush, March 2006
"Will the United States of America keep its word? Because if not, they want to do something different. And I think it's going to be important for us to keep signaling them as they make progress, we appreciate the progress; more to do, no question about it, and we expect them to do it, but they can also count on us to keep our word." --Bush, May 2007
Declaring any 'progress' or 'success in Iraq comes with more than an absence of credibility from whoever is claiming it; claims or progress or success in Iraq almost always come without any accounting at all of the catastrophic losses which have marked every violent day in the besieged nation. Measuring success in Iraq also depends on whatever point of view, interest, or motivation is behind the declaration.
It's been nothing but a proxy war of intimidation which has been waged in Iraq, against the specter of al-Qaeda they've let run free for five years since the original attack on the U.S.. But there are none of the original perpetrators of the original attacks in Iraq for our forces to make 'progress' against. That's what makes their posturing against al-Qaeda in Iraq so amazingly dishonest. The original individuals who both duckies identified as orchestrators of the 9-11 attacks are mostly still at-large in the mountains of Afghanistan, far from the violence that Bush and Blair have instigated in Iraq with their overthrow and replacement of the once-sovereign regime behind the sacrifices of our nations' defenses.
Those Iraqis who've taken to attacking our occupying forces may well be inspired by the five-year freedom from prosecution that those accused of the most destructive attack on our nation in decades have enjoyed because of Bush and Blair's decision to divert the bulk of our defenses to Iraq. However, it is far from any definition of 'success' to have squandered the international and regional goodwill sympathetically offered after the September 11 attacks with a campaign of intimidation and military dominance against the very people who would have willingly joined in a just pursuit, and an isolation of anyone still interested in disrupting peace.
Their justifications are indeed schizophrenic, as a reporter suggested to the White House last week. On one hand, they argue for 'room' for the new Iraqi regime to make political progress with the overdue promises made after the lopsided elections held while the opposition communities were under siege and attack by the invading, occupying enablers. Reconciliation with the Sunni community (increasingly isolated from opportunity behind the miles-long 'security' wall we're erecting) is to come out of the deliberations of the fractured Iraqi parliament which is set to take a two-month vacation from their part-time pretense of legislating.
On the other hand, our forces are also being escalated by Bush and Blair to, improbably, defend against a specter of ideology in Iraq which allows any resistance to the occupiers' bloody advance to be cast as 'al-Qaeda; the sum of what they've represented as their greatest fear. Blair spoke to his fear as he stood with his fellow ducky, Bush in the Rose Garden yesterday.
"What you are seeing in Iraq is an attempt by al Qaeda," Blair told reporters, "to try to disturb any prospect of Sunni and Shia coming together and delivering what the people of Iraq want to see . . . The forces that we are fighting in Iraq -- al Qaeda on the one hand, Iranian-backed elements on the other -- are the same forces we're fighting everywhere." he said.
How convenient for Blair that his nemesis has appeared as the primary instigator, and obstacle to his consolidation of power in Iraq. Ignore the fact that these are Iraqis defending their stake in their own country against each other. Ignore the contradiction in our own outside forces escalating their assaults against Iraqis in numbers which dwarf any foreign influence which may have rallied to 'fight us there'. Ignore his own role in providing a 'safe haven' for some terrorist propagandist to issue fatwas and edicts for the five years they've escaped justice in Afghanistan while our soldiers are made to wallow in the middle of the Iraq fiasco.
What an utter coincidence that he finds his greatest fears urging him forward in Iraq, standing in the way of the 'reconciliation' he says he wants there. Whatever the specter of 'al-Qaeda' represented to the original attackers, it has now become the moniker of resistance to the Western military advance on the Middle East; for our leaders in the U.S. and Britain; and for those who actively resist the West's swaggering expansion into their countries and region as well.
Bush is more than willing to oblige the aims of the original band of thugs in their goal of aligning the Middle East against the U.S. interest and presence. He's not above elevating petty criminals to a level of national importance that he justifies the sacrifice of over 4000 coalition lives in his blundering pursuit. He bids us to 'listen to the words' of the terrorists as he presses forward. He wants us to acknowledge his deepest fears as he argues for the means to continue his bloody reign.
No matter how calm it may seem here in America, an enemy lurks, Bush told reporters in the Rose Garden. "And they would like to strike. They would like to do harm to the American people because they have an agenda. They want to impose an ideology; they want us to retreat from the world; they want to find safe haven. And these just aren't empty words, these are the words of al Qaeda themselves," he said.
Ignore every bit of responsibility Bush and Blair bear for their part in the disruption of the region into chaos and opportunistic violence and listen to the words of al-Qaeda 'themselves'. Listen to Bush and Blair's deepest fears. They're the words of al-Qaeda themselves.