Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The New Pollution

George W. Bush, after the initial escalation of the war with little returns as well as his current rejection of the Iraq Spending Bill with its oh-so-unreasonable demands to take the troops out, has started a public relations campaign to drum up support for the war again.

According to the Associated Press, Bush spoke to a group of contractors about the war, suggesting that al-Qaida is the number one group to be concerned about in Iraq. In fact, Bush called al-Qaida "public enemy #1." Bush attempted to such language by talking about the only thing that this administration uses to make a point: 9/11:

"For America, the decision we face in Iraq is not whether we ought to take sides in a civil war, it's whether we stay in the fight against the same international terrorist network that attacked us on 9/11," Bush said. "I strongly believe it's in our national interest to stay in the fight."

First things first, this isn't really true. Al-Qaida in Iraq is only one component of a larger battle against the American forces. I am not trying to defend al-Qaida, but I am trying to suggest that they are not really public enemy #1. What about the Mahdi Army and the smaller groups that have been allowed to pop up in the country during this time of upheaval. If you don't believe me, watch this episode of Frontline, which talks to many of the different sectarian groups in Iraq along with giving their rationale.

Additionally, I don't like the line of logic used by Bush in making his argument. The war in Iraq is not related to 9/11. It isn't. Time and time again, it has been proven that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden did not consort with each other. Additionally, the reasons that we went to Iraq have been proven false as we haven't found a single weapon of mass destruction. To continually connect these two things is intentionally misleading and patently false.

I don't expect a lot out of Bush, but I expect him to at least play it straight. While I don't listen to the president on face value, I know that other people do. He owes it to them to tell the truth and not make false connections where they don't exist. But aside from this, the other problem that I have with Bush's appeal is the following:

"And the definition of success as I described is sectarian violence down. Success is not no violence. ... But success is a level of violence where the people feel comfortable about living their daily lives."
Grammar aside, people cannot feel comfortable about living their regular lives when they don't have basic needs like running water and electricity. If this is the benchmark, Iraq will never get there. I think Bush needs to come down off the hill and join us in the reality-based community with regards to this war.