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imperialism & war

Bush's Speech - More Of The Same

Bush didn't retreat one iota from the line he has followed since before this war started. He acknowledged no error, admitted no lapse in judgment.
Editorial: Bush's speech/Simply more of the same
May 25, 2004

Let's be clear at the outset: President Bush's much-anticipated speech Monday night at the Army War College in Pennsylvania wasn't about Iraq. It was about the general election on Nov. 2 and Bush's frantic desire to stop his inexorable slide in public opinion polls, the latest of which has his approval rating at a dismal 41 percent. A Bush aide said as much Sunday, telling the New York Times that the Monday night speech was designed to dispel "this idea that we don't know what we're doing" in Iraq.

Did Bush succeed? Not by a long shot. It's arrogant of a president to believe speeches can dispel the skepticism borne of three years of lies and incompetence on the ground. Lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Incompetence in sizing the American troop strength that would be required to pacify Iraq following the inevitably quick opening combat. Incompetence in failing to plan well for dealing with an occupied Iraq. Incompetence in ceding control of American foreign policy to a small cabal of self-delusional neoconservatives who threw traditional American pragmatism -- conservative pragmatism -- overboard in favor of grandiose plans for remaking the Middle East into a peaceful, democratic region in one fell swoop.

Bush's speech was spectacular for its refusal to retreat from that wholly discredited vision. Throughout his speech, he continued his effort to wrap the war in Iraq in the war on terror. At this late date, just five weeks from the return of some sovereignty to Iraq, Bush refuses to acknowledge what is plain: The war in Iraq had no relationship to the war on terror; it was a distraction from the essential war on Al-Qaida and other terrorists who wish America harm. At one point, Bush referred to Iraq as the "central front" in the war on terror. If it is, that is so only because the United States invaded, and it will cease to be so once the United States leaves.

Bush expressed great belief in the Iraqi people; if they are given the choice, he said, they will choose freedom. Precisely, which is why today the overwhelming majority of Iraqis want the United States out of their country; if it could be arranged today, they would embrace the American departure.

Bush spoke also of returning full sovereignty to the Iraqi people on June 30. He spoke of five steps necessary to make that sovereignty meaningful, but none of it is new; all of it has been known for months. The only new element in the plan he outlined was the proposal to raze Abu Ghraib prison, where American soldiers brutally abused Iraqi prisoners. Even then, Bush could not bring himself to acknowledge the full scope of what transpired. He continued to cling to the politically expedient fiction that the abuses were the work of a few bad apples. In fact, evidence grows daily that this abuse scandal was a consequence of actions up and down the line of American command.

Bush didn't retreat one iota from the line he has followed since before this war started. He acknowledged no error, admitted no lapse in judgment. His five-step "plan" is more a hope than a plan. If everything goes just right; if the U.N. Security Council members play the docile role assigned them and bail the United States out; if the Iraqi factions avoid infighting; if this and if that, then possibly the United States can eventually leave Iraq.

You would think by now that Bush would have learned: Believing in something, hoping for something does not make it so. Incredible hubris led the United States into Iraq and into a maelstrom of unanticipated consequences -- but unanticipated only by the crowd around Bush; the warnings were there for those who wanted to listen, warnings that came most especially from the traditional, pragmatic conservatives who don't look kindly on risky foreign adventures.

Now Bush looks hopefully ahead to a neat solution. It's quite unlikely. As Anthony Zinni, a respected former commander of Central Command and special Middle East envoy for this administration, said Sunday night on CBS' "60 Minutes,"They've screwed up." Indeed, the Bush team has screwed up from the get-go in Iraq, and no amount of feel-good spin will change that.
He did "acknowledge" one error 24.May.2004 20:12

saw only part of the speech


I haven't got a verbatim transcript of the Army War College speech in front of me, but I saw an excerpt on OPB where he was talking about:

"learning from mistakes" that had been made at Abu Ghraib (which he had trouble pronouncing),

and then proceeded into the trademark "it was just a few bad apples" enlisted soldiers who were responsible for torture.

I'm not sure you can call this "acknowledgment" of "error", but he did claim to be making the Iraq prisons "better" (whatever the fuck that means).

he also said there are plans - as suggested by a few Congresspeople in the torture hearings - to tear down Abu Ghraib and - hip, hip, hooray! - BUILD A NEW STATE-OF-THE-ART PRISON FACILITY (guess who gets the construction contract for that . . .?) in Baghdad.

The Invisible Speech 24.May.2004 20:36

Curious George

Was this speech televised? I never saw a air time listed anywhere and it has not been the lead story on local news. We all know what THAT is.

Not even public radio has had anything to say about it this evening.

I, too, was appalled at the notion of tearing down Saddam's big bad prison and building a new big, bad DEMOCRATIC prison.

Sounds like an "On to Mars in an Electric Car" rant. And I cringe to think of how much more it is going to cost us.

It will cost all of us lots 24.May.2004 20:57

the name of the game

the end of public services, the destruction of the commons, the end of any idea that government exists for any reason but to fuck the people over.

To your gardens, people! Quit buying their stuff!

twas 24.May.2004 21:15

pointed out

the same old stuff about terrorism is all he talks about.brainwashing public to hate the 'other' ,to distract from torture at home and around the world!

He sounded like a second grader 24.May.2004 22:21


He sounded like a second grader giving a speech for the first time, when he stumbled on "Abu Ghraib," at least twice. It's cute when a little kid does that, but...

He was like his own Saturday Night Live skit.

What has become of us that we can have such an idiot for a president? It makes you laugh. It makes you cry.

. 24.May.2004 23:12


Bush is not an idiot. He is crude and ignorant, and he is not very perceptive, but he does have his own brand of cunning.

. 24.May.2004 23:16


Oh, good idea, tear down the prison so nobody can look closer and see what else was happening there, or buried there.

bush blows pronunciation of 'abu ghraib', soldiers on 25.May.2004 00:02


Bike Accident 25.May.2004 07:10

Stay the Course

He is a good puppet for the master.

... 25.May.2004 15:40

this thing here

the reason why george looks so totally out of it, and cannot speak english as one would expect of a national leader, is that when people such as george give speeches, they have to act like they care about what they're talking about. the better speeches are the ones where the person speaking doesn't "act" like they care at all, because they really do care.

but george, he doesn't care. couldn't care less.

and so, to have to deliver a high pressure speech to a national audience, and try to give the appearence of concern, when deep inside there is no concern, no care at all, is just too taxing on george's brain. so hence the choppy, halting speech and the weird facial expressions, as if the gears inside were grinding and siezing.

and other's have mentioned this but, the talk about "building great new prisons", as if new prisons were something to get all excited about. what the fuck? george has to deliver a high pressure speech, and one of his high points is a few words about building new prisons? what the fffff... if that isn't an inside look at what's really important to a right wing leader...

No Real Solutions - No Real Plan 25.May.2004 16:45

North Portlander

George is all about revenge, retribution, and getting as much booty on the side as possible for his supporters.

Sure he'd like to build a new prison . . . more work for his friends, the latter day CCC (campaign contribution contractors). And where will the money to build a new prison come from? Probably out of the money that is supposed to go to restoring infrastructure and paying restitution to the families of civilians who have been carelessly blown away.

Why not hold off on the razing of the prison and the building of a new facility until the running of Iraq is handed over to Iraqis. If THEY want a new prison, then they can build one . . . or manage the one they have got in a more humane manner. The building is not evil -- it's what happens in the building.

Bush's "plaster a bandage" approach to the events in the Iraqi prison are so simplistic that, I swear, your average insect has more sophisticated reasoning powers.

It works beautifully so far, 25.May.2004 20:25


why should George change? The prison demolition is the perfect solution for a vexing problem. The prison is wiped from memory, the CPA knocks it over, and KBR and Wackenhut get to build and staff a new "state-of-the-art,maximum-security prison" using our tax dollars.

Brilliant fusion of public service with private business, and Americans will swallow it whole and fight for the newly-created jobs. And BTW, why is the Department of the Interior managing Iraq prisons?

Doesn't care 25.May.2004 22:05

or he's lying (again)

Maybe it's both.
i notice that when I'm trying to keep my lies straight, like with my Mom, i forget what i've already told her, so i end up stumbling and mumbling, cuz i'm making stuff up and trying to remember what the other lies were. DOnt' forget, he was an alcholic and drug user, too. So there's probably not too many brain cells left and when you are in front of cameras and hot lights (knowing the whole world is watching), it's probably hard to read your script.