READ MORE: Iraq
, George W. Bush
"We'll succeed unless we quit," has to be one of the president's most ridiculous
and dangerous statements about Iraq since, "Those weapons of mass destruction have to be around here somewhere." No wait. It was one of the most dangerous things he's said since, "It'll be just a comma." That's not it. Since, "Bring 'em on," maybe? Ah hell. There are so many stupid, dangerous and ridiculous things he's muttered with a smirk about this war, you could probably document them on enough paper to build a giant paper bridge from Washington to Baghdad allowing our soldiers to walk home.
This latest nugget of I'm-not-stay-the-course-but-stay-the-course-anyway ignorance was regurgitated by the president in Hanoi, Vietnam of all places which served only to underscore the tragedy of it all. And what's worse is he's signaled an intention to escalate
the hostilities with increased troop levels in Iraq -- a plan that appears to be endorsed by the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group. It goes without saying the entire schmear is not only a slap in the face to all the soldiers who are dutifully departing on their fourth and fifth tours of duty, but also a kick to the throat of everyone who spoke out against the war on November 7.
The very simple question we should be asking President Bush and the last remaining stay the course sycophants is a crucial one about Iraq, but presented in the context of Vietnam... Knowing what you know now about the death toll in Vietnam and the eventual outcome of the war, wouldn't the United States have been better off by pulling out in 1964 or earlier? How many lives would've been saved?
The answer to that question -- and subsequently the question about redeployment and withdrawal from Iraq -- rests in the following graph.
As you can see, in the first four years of Vietnam, there were fewer deaths per year than in Iraq. What's also clear is that in the fifth year of Vietnam (the equivalent of 2007) the death toll rose significantly. The same with the sixth year and the seventh year and so on. But the most significant aspect of this graph are the deaths that occurred AFTER the fourth year of the war.
These post-fourth-year numbers suggest that President Bush, with his escalation and stay the course talk, is driving the Iraq War directly into a wall of death. I mean, the graph literally illustrates the shape of a wall. Of course the total casualty figures in Iraq are astronomical already but if we look at the raw numbers of American military deaths and factor in the almost universally agreed-upon prediction that victory in Iraq is a lost cause, then correlate it all with the historical precedent of a similar war with a similarly lost cause, the die is cast.
Clearly what began as hubris served on a giant stick of crap is now disintegrating beyond incompetence to outright carelessness -- a reckless disregard for historical reality careening towards outright presidential insanity. Not just figurative presidential insanity. Full blown cuckoo's nest Mr. Martini-betting-a-dime batshit crazy.
Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats have a political, moral and historical obligation to isolate and handcuff the president on this war. If they don't, they're simply enabling him. History proves that political reputations aren't worth the cost in lives, so the slogan, "We won't succeed unless we leave/redeploy," ought to be shouted back at the president in unison because history is warning us about that wall... and it's looming large on the horizon.
Bush to Congress: Drop Dead
I am increasingly coming to the hardly revelatory conclusion that George Bush is set on a strategy of rendering the November election results irrelevant by treating them as having no bearing on his policies. For a moment there, I thought the results were a wake-up call for the White House to change direction.
But today in Hanoi Bush told the press that, as far as Iraq is concerned, "The elections mean the American people want to know if we have a plan for success." How is that again? Like most Americans, I saw the election as a signal to switch course in Iraq by getting out, not in continuing to pursue a disaster that can never be cured. This follows Bush's renomination of six hard-rock conservatives for judicial posts and his forwarding of the name of the right-wing idealogue John Bolton for appointment as the US envoy to the UN. Bush is saying in so many words that he is unrepentent, and, as a lame-duck president, he has nothing to lose. He has placed all of his markers on his conservative base -- despite the fact that it is down to 31% of the voters according to the latest polls -- and will stick to that position no matter what happens in Congress and or in the country over the next 24 months.