As I sat down to write my column for the week, I looked back at what the big news stories were this week. Sure, there were more Republican sex scandals & corruption that surfaced, as well as Michael J. Fox's plug for candidates supporting stem-cell research along with Rush Limbaugh's asinine reaction, but it wasn't enough to tickle me to write. Then, on Wednesday October 25th, I had the opportunity to catch President Bush's entire press conference. This was the "We're getting away from the 'stay-the-course' rhetoric" news conference.
So here we are less than two weeks before the mid-term election, and Bush is finally talking about his plan for Iraq. We all knew that 'stay-the-course' was not a plan it was an excuse for not having a plan. But now the president has a plan. And what's the plan? Victory! Winning! Defeating the enemy! Essentially Bush's big plan for victory is to make adjustments because that's what the enemy has done.
A lesson in project management
I've done my share of project management over the course of my career. One of the basics of PM is to have a timeline with milestones. Milestones act as goals that need to be achieved within a specific timeframe. Milestones act as metrics for measuring progress. Milestones act as motivators for the resources (workers) to meet their goals.
This week's big Bush story is that the President is finally using the rhetoric of "benchmarks & timelines". His previous 'stay-the-course' rhetoric was unspecific as his tagline was "when they stand up, we'll stand down". And without specific benchmarks (another term for milestones) all he had to do was say there was progress and spit out some numbers of Iraqi troop readiness. Of course we all know that his statistics of Iraqi troop readiness in the past were pure fabrications as his own generals debunked them almost immediately. But now he's going to define and look for specific benchmarks of progress. Right. I'll believe that when I see it.
The wrong rhetoric
So, it's no longer "stay-the-course". Instead it's "adapt to win with benchmarks & timelines". Either way this is not the rhetoric that needed to change. What needs to change is Bush's use of the words "Victory", "Winning", "Prevailing", "Killers", "Evil", "Defeat", "Enemy", etc.
These are the words of someone who thinks in black-and-white terms. Bush thinks that all he needs to do is "win" this war, and everything will be fine. But this war is NOT about winning or losing. This war is about fixing a problem that WE created. These people are NOT our enemies. They're people who live in the country that WE invaded and now occupy. The sooner Bush stops thinking of this problem in terms of winning & losing, and stops thinking of Iraqis as enemies & adversaries, the sooner this conflict can move on to diplomacy, negotiation, treaties, and peace.
What is actually happening?
Granted, I'm not directly in touch with the "generals on the ground" in Iraq like the President is. I don't have debriefings with General Casey and hear second-hand about what's happening. But, I can still see what's happening. And what I see happening is that many of the very same Iraqi troops we've trained are now acting as rogue Shiite militias and killing as many Sunni's as they can find. So, let's think about this. We have one religious/ethnic faction brutally killing another, strictly because of their religiousness/ethnicity. Gee, that sounds like genocide to me.
And speaking of genocide, what has President Bush done about Darfur? If I recall, it was at least two years ago that then Secretary of State Powell said that there was genocide going on there. We're talking numbers in the hundreds of thousands, either killed or displaced from their homes. Has the Bush Administration even lifted a finger to do anything about this? Nooooooo! But they're awfully quick to blame President Clinton about Kosovo. Why aren't we blaming Bush for his inaction in Darfur?
And there you have it. Today in the 21st century, right under our very noses, genocide is happening. Entire races of peoples are under attack, and one of those attacks is happening in the very same country George invaded & now occupies, by the very same troops he's trained.
After nearly six years Bush still hasn't learned that he's not part of the solution he's part of the problem.