Sunday, October 22, 2006

Weasel Words and the Two-Legged Weasels that Speak Them

[With apologies to any four-legged furry weasels who might read this.]

In his weekly radio address BushCheney said yesterday,

"Our goal is clear and unchanging: Our goal is victory," he said. "What is changing are the tactics we use to achieve that goal. Our commanders on the ground are constantly adjusting their approach to stay ahead of the enemy, particularly in Baghdad."

These 43 words neatly encapsulate all that is wrong with American policy in Iraq. Our goal is NOT clear and unchanging. Over the course of three and a half years our goal has morphed from weapons of mass destruction to toppling a brutal dictator to establishing democracy. BushCheney may claim that he has always sought victory but the meaning of that victory has been anything but clear and unchanging. He should have quit back at "Mission Accomplished" when he was ahead.

BushCheney is correct when he claims that our tactics change but he errs on the reasoning. American forces are not staying ahead of the enemy. If anything, the enemy is dictating the terms of engagement, forcing our troops to constantly react and deal with an ever changing combat environment. We sure didn't plan on an insurgency, on improvised explosive devices or sectarian violence. We have been playing catch-up since almost day one.

Clear and unchanging is a mantra for BushCheney, however meainingles it may be in reality. It makes him sound positively Churchillian. He used it at a fund raiser where he coupled it with the goal of an Iraq that could defend itsef and would be an ally in the war on terror. Here, too, howver, the words are equally meainingless. Iraqis seem more than able to defend themselves--if not from foreign invaders like the United States then from each other. As for seeking an ally against terrorism, the secular Iraq of Saddam Hussein was probably more reliablely hostile to Islamic extremists than any likely post-invasion Iraqi government.

At the fund raiser BushCheney also said,

"Listen, I fully understand it's a tough fight in Iraq," he said. "I know it, you know it, and our troops know it."

I have to ask, how would he know?


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