Mudcat Café message #1288476 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #62901   Message #1288476
Posted By: Amos
04-Oct-04 - 02:59 PM
Thread Name: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From the Editors of The New Republic, a subscription only magazine:

Fool Me Once
by the Editors

All politicians stretch truth to present accomplishments in the most appealing light. What President Bush has told the country over the past week about the deeply troubled Iraq occupation, however, is different. While an increasingly strong insurgency murdered 250 Iraqis last week, he portrayed the occupation as gliding to success. Last week, Bush told the Manchester Union-Leader, "I'm pleased with the progress." The template the administration is using for its portrayal of Iraq is the one the Johnson administration perfected during Vietnam: To win reelection, Bush is lying.

Not only has there been no recent progress in Iraq, there has been much backsliding over the past six months. Two weeks ago, a research team from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (csis) released the most comprehensive study about events on the ground. Originally invited to study Iraq at the behest of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, csis said, "In every sector we looked at, we saw backward movement in recent months." This is the opposite of "progress," and the administration knows it. In a July National Intelligence Estimate (nie), its own analysts reported that the best outcome in Iraq is a barely contained insurgency and tenuous stability. In other words, what last year was among the worst-case scenarios is now the best.

The president has a response to those who honestly depict the situation in Iraq: dismissal. "Just guessing," Bush shrugged at the NIE. The Iraqis "are defying the dire predictions of a lot of people by moving toward democracy," he said last week. In fact, the only predictions Iraqis have defied are his own. First they defied his prediction that they would accept instantaneous post-Saddam rule by expatriates. Then they defied his prediction that they would accept an open-ended occupation. Then they defied his prediction that they would accept an interim government chosen by convoluted caucuses. Then they defied his prediction that the U.S. military could rely on poorly trained Iraqi forces to combat the insurgency. Then they defied his prediction that the transfer of notional sovereignty to the interim government would destroy the insurgency's popular support.

And now it is dawning on observers that the latest prediction Iraqis will defy is that they are "moving toward democracy." "The Americans have created a series of fictional [election] dates and events in order to delude themselves," Ghassan Atiyya, director of the Iraq Foundation for Development and Democracy, recently told Newsweek. Even American ground commander Thomas Metz, commenting on the fact that most of Al Anbar Province is controlled by the insurgency, admitted, "I don't think today you could hold elections."

In response, the administration is telegraphing that, should it win reelection, it will insist on Iraqi elections nonetheless and call them legitimate, even if they are unfree and unfair. In a recent address to the National Press Club, Rumsfeld shrugged, "I've never seen an election anywhere that's perfect," as if Iraq were West Palm Beach. Iraqis are more honest. Interim President Ghazi Al Yawer declared last week, "We do not want to have elections for the sake of elections. It's the outcome of the elections that's most important." By which he surely means an outcome that will preserve his power. For that reason, the Association of Muslim Scholars, which represents about 3,000 Sunni mosques, has announced it will boycott the vote. Sheik Abdul Satar Abdul Jabbar of the Association told The New York Times, "If the election goes forward anyway, the body that will be elected will not represent the country." This decision virtually ensures that elections could move Iraq closer to civil war. With most Sunnis refusing to cast ballots, the new government would lack legitimacy and take on a sectarian character, fostering even greater factional conflict. As Atiyya recently warned, "Badly prepared elections, rather than healing wounds, will open them."

There are brave Republicans who understand how disastrous the Bush administration's Iraq policy has proved. Referring to Bush's predictions, the GOP chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar, remarked, "The nonsense of all that is apparent." But the nonsense has continued. Bush has enlisted Iyad Allawi to travel to Washington this week and claim the administration is delivering victory in Iraq. Unless more Republicans join Lugar and put truth above party, the lies will continue through Election Day and beyond.

the Editors