Of all the words that President Bush used at his news conference this week to defend his policies in Iraq, the one that did not pass his lips was "progress."
For three years, the president tried to reassure Americans that more progress was being made in Iraq than they realized. But with Iraq either in civil war or on the brink of it, Bush dropped the unseen-progress argument in favor of the contention that things could be even worse.
The above is not from the New York Times. It's certainly not from a piece by rooting-tooting Jim Rutenberg. Tom notes it. It's from Peter Baker's "Bush's New Iraq Argument: It Could Be Worse" (Washington Post).
It could be worse. That's what we shoot for now. And, if you think about it, that's just another side to the fear card. Fear was played up to lead a nation into an illegal war and fear's going to be used to attempt to keep the war going. Even though the Times tries to turn their most recent poll into an election guide, the reality (which they tenderly side-step) is that the nation's turned against the war. It's going to take more than fear and cheerleading to change the tide of public opinion.
But, as the next highlight points out, some are already hard at work, attempting to do just that.
Keesha notes Ron Jacobs' "The Liberal Warmongers are at It Again" (CounterPunch):
The liberal warmongers are at it again. In Sunday's (August 20, 2006) Washington Post, Neal Pollack and Daniel Byman of the Brookings Institution and Georgetown's Center for Peace and Security Studies offer an analysis and prescription for an Iraq that they believe is already in a state of civil war. Ignoring the fundamental reason that this situation exists--the US occupation of the country--these two men tell the reader that the growing sectarian violence in Iraq will be even more dangerous should it spill over Iraq's borders. Furthermore, they argue, the latter will eventually occur. This fact alone means that US responsibilities in the region will increase, not lessen.
Prior to this prognostication, the two men write that it would take close to a half-million soldiers to "quash an all-out civil war there." There is no other alternative offered by these imperial apologists, and this statement is qualified by stating that this is more than the US has already committed. It's not that Pollack and Byman actually call for US troops to be mobilized for these increasing "responsibilities." It's that they write as if there were no alternatives, since in their minds the so-called responsibilities are not ones that Washington chooses to undertake because it sees its empire as being essential to the peace of the world. Unsaid in this do-gooder approach is that the only peace Washington and its apologists (neocon to neoliberal and beyond) want is one that benefits Washington and its corporate masters. If that peace takes a world war, then by god, that's what will have to happen, but only because its for the world's good.
Meanwhile, from another corner of the imperial ring, on that same Sunday John McCain called for many more US troops in Iraq. During a conversation on "Meet the Press," Mr. McCain said that the US must win in Iraq. Otherwise, he added, there would be chaos in the region. If I had been sitting in the interviewer's chair in the NBC studio that morning, I would have had to ask Mr. McCain what word he might use to define the current situation in Iraq. Democracy? Peaceful transition? Order? From where I sit, the current situation in Iraq is the definition of chaos. The addition of more US troops would only create more, especially since Mr. McCain wants them to go after not only the Sunni and secular insurgency; he also wants them to go after the Shia militias. Now that's a recipe for calm.
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