"Slowly but surely, the people of Iraq are reclaiming a normal society," Bush told recruits yesterday at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. "You see, when Iraqis don't have to fear the terrorists, they have a chance to build better lives for themselves." he said.
The administration has been advancing a new strategy which has focused our military force on attacking Iraqis who they've decided are affiliated with the 9-11 fugitive suspects they've let run free in Afghanistan/Pakistan for over six years since the attacks in 2001. In an amazing retreat from over five years of their shepherding of the Shiite-dominated Maliki regime, the administration has decided to align themselves with the Sunnis who've assisted them in their contrived attacks on population centers where they claim that members of "Iraqi al-Qaeda" reside and operate.
The hook is their insistence that there hasn't merely been sectarian resistance to the widely unpopular regime our military helped install, but that, it's been the 'Iraqi al-Qaeda' who have been the main instigators of the resistant violence which is directed at government and coalition forces, and against the civilian population, as well. But, that argument was, long ago, refuted by the collective judgment of administration's own intelligence agencies in their National Intelligence Estimate. They couldn't have been more clear who they believed were the most pernicious instigators of Iraq's sectarian fighting.
"The Iraq conflict," the report read, "has become the cause célèbre for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement . . . We assess that the underlying factors fueling the spread of the movement outweigh its vulnerabilities and are likely to do so for the duration of the timeframe of this Estimate."
Somehow, in Bush's blundering sprint away from the judgment Americans rendered in the November 2006 congressional election which replaced his republican enabling majority in Congress with Democrats pledged to end his occupation, the 'threat' from the 'Iraqi al-Qaeda' went from the 2% or so of the violence his generals attributed to the bin-Laden wannabes, to the one and only reason in Bush's opportunistic alibi for continuing his occupation that Iraqis were fighting each other.
Instead of listening to the majority of the American people and to their elected representatives in Congress, Bush is listening to "the words of bin Laden" who has gifted his terror partner with rhetoric which insists that to leave the Iraqi cauldron Bush obligingly ignited for him and focus our nation's defenses on his capture or elimination would be a "surrender" by the U.S and a "victory" for al-Qaeda. In his new elevation of the fugitive thugs, Bush has likened the rouge terrorists to Hitler and Lenin, arguing that bin-Laden was, somehow, more of a threat to regional peace than his own invasion, overthrow, and occupation.
Never mind that after Bush let bin-Laden and his associates escape at Tora-Bora he subsequently declared that he wasn't concerned with him anymore. Never mind that his administration closed down the Pentagon office which was devoted to bin-Laden's capture. Now, in the midst of a failed campaign in Baghdad which was billed by Bush as the "center" of his terror war, it's supposedly imperative that we resist the specter he's opportunistically resurrected and is promoting, word-for-word.
If there was any real concern by Bush for the reconciliation among Iraq's sects competing for power, influence, resources and territory, he wouldn't have imposed his defiant escalation of force on Iraq. In fact, if Bush was serious about preserving anything in Iraq other than his politically self-serving occupation, he would not have encouraged Shias and Kurds to occupy rival communities along with the U.S. forces he's cynically deployed in his "surge." Arming, skirmishing with, and affording official recognition to Sunnis who are willing to play along with Bush's Iraqi protection racket, the administration is on the precipice of undermining the very regime our soldiers have been fighting and dying to defend.
Someone in the administration needs to explain how the U.S. enabled re-emergence and official elevation of (formerly insurgent) Sunnis -- who the Maliki regime worries will, one day, rise up and threaten their enabled authority -- represents progress from the last faction of Sunnis our government supported against the will of the Iraqis in the past. Apparently, the "normal" Iraqis Bush speaks of are those who are willing to play along with whatever political the Bush administration contrives for them. A "normal" Iraqi society is, apparently, whatever rosy scenario the Bush administration is spinning as they attempt to justify their disruptive, open-ended deployments as a defense of "progress," "success," and "freedom."
"The normal Iraqi will take the necessary steps to put -- fight for a free society," Bush told the young Americans that he, no doubt, expects to sacrifice their lives and livelihoods to defend his notion of a "free" Iraqi society. But it has been the case in Iraq, that millions of "normal Iraqis" have had their lives disrupted, initially, because of his own manufactured aggression; and subsequently, threatened by his blundering attempt to intimidate Iraqis into bowing down before whatever regime is willing to advantage itself behind his imperious use of the force of our nation's defenders.
"You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror," Bush said in 2001. Play along with whatever the Bush administration can sell as part of their terror war and you, too, can be declared "normal." It may well be, in Iraq, that after decades of misery, oppression, and death through U.S. sanctions, assaults, and other deadly manipulations, the prospect of the heavy-hand of some controlling authority could appear to bring about a state of normalcy amid the chaos. But that prospect should cause anyone who is willing to reflect on the U.S.'s past manipulations and measure the effects of those against the present, floundering U.S. creation in Iraq to wonder why almost 4000 American lives have been sacrificed to merely replace one dictatorial regime with another.
What business is it of an American president, anyway, to determine what's "normal" in Iraq? Warren G. Harding, in his presidential campaign, coined the word 'normalcy' to reflect his belief that the U.S. should return to a focus on it's own needs and concerns like it had done before it entered World War I. "America’s present need is not heroics but healing; not nostrums but normalcy; not revolution but restoration," he said of his campaign slogan. Unfortunately, Harding let his administration run wild, squandering the opportunities for reform and allowing corruption to flourish.
A recognition by Bush of the demonstrated desire of the majority of Americans to leave Iraq to the Iraqis, and to 'return to normalcy' here at home, would go a long way toward advancing the prospects for the "success" and "progress" he imagines he's creating with his escalated occupation. But, like Harding's heralding of a new "normal," Bush's promises for Iraq (and America) are mired in the stifling corruption of the cynical politics he's practiced in his presidency. For now, the lame-duck commander-in-chief is content with his sloganeering, and has absolutely no intention of allowing Americans to realize any of their own expectations of normalcy; not in Iraq, or here at home.