Wednesday, February 01, 2006

First take on the SOTU.

Today our Nation lost a beloved, graceful, courageous woman who called America to its founding ideals and carried on a noble dream. Tonight we are comforted by the hope of a glad reunion with the husband who was taken so long ago, and we are grateful for the good life of Coretta Scott King.

With these words, the President began a State of the Union Address that was the height of deceit and hypocrisy. It was the first of two times that he invoked the name or memory of the martyred civil rights hero. It was remarkable for the fact that the ghost of Martin Luther King, Jr. did not grab the President by his throat, and shake him like a rag doll.

In case you are too young to remember, Reverend King was the victim of spying by a government that was hostile to him, because he was an outspoken critic of war and indifference to poverty. He was a revered leader of African-Americans, a group which today rewards King George W with a 2% approval rating. I am just guessing here, but I think that is lower than the approval rating for stomach flu.

We have served America through one of the most consequential periods of our history – and it has been my honor to serve with you.

I am not so sure what “consequential” means, but I might agree with W on this one, if by “consequential,” he means, “I am screwing up this country, and the consequences will be with us for a generation or longer.” The part that is either long on irony or short on self-awareness, is that he thinks it has been an honor. What the schmuck doesn’t know is that he is a disgrace of monumental proportions.

To confront the great issues before us, we must act in a spirit of good will and respect for one another – and I will do my part.

This is so clearly the most unmitigated horse manure that I almost have to give the man credit for saying it with a straight face. Look, the Republicans control all branches of government and the media, and this is the most divisive time since Nixon’s troops fired on protestors at Kent State. But let’s stay tuned and see how long this new spirit of civility lasts.

Thirty-seven words later:

We will choose to act confidently in pursuing the enemies of freedom – or retreat from our duties in the hope of an easier life.

Well, that did not last too long. Either you are with me, or you are a coward shirking duties in hope of pursuing your life of leisure. How can anyone forget that W ran, and some would say, won, on a promise that he would be a “joiner, not a divider”? The only question left is this: can W evoke 9-11 in the first 400 words? The answer: yep.

I’ll just skip over that part to get to this little gem:

No one can deny the success of freedom, but some men rage and fight against it.

Kinda makes you wonder who they would be? Could it be the Iraqis who have family members being tortured in American run prisons? Or the Palestinians who just saw their government hijacked by a terrorist group? But let’s move on. Or rather, let’s go back to a time in the recent past when we were actually hunting down Osama Bin Laden. Well, I’ll be darned, the President remembered him! Sort of.

Speaking of “terrorists like Bin Laden” he said:

Their aim is to seize power in Iraq, and use it as a safe haven to launch attacks against America and the world.

You know, I thought I paid careful attention to the news, and yet, I don’t ever remember hearing any evidence that Bin Laden has aspirations for Iraq. My God, if that were true, it would probably be useful to have a secular strongman there who had every tool of brutal repression available to him in order to resist Public Enemy Number 1.

Well, don’t get me wrong, I am not in favor of tyrants in Iraq. But given the choice between a tyranny by Saddam Hussein and a tyranny by Shi’ite fundamentalists, I might could go with the one that hates OBL. All other things being equal. (Of course, they are not equal. The Shi’ites have the Iranian connection, which will soon have nuclear capabilities, but I digress.) Back to the Misstate of the Union.

And we are on the offensive in Iraq, with a clear plan for victory. First, we are helping Iraqis build an inclusive government, so that old resentments will be eased, and the insurgency will be marginalized. Secondly, we are continuing reconstruction efforts, and helping the Iraqi government to fight corruption and build a modern economy, so all Iraqis can experience the benefits of freedom. And third, we are striking terrorist targets while we train Iraqi forces that are increasingly capable of defeating the enemy.

You call that a plan? I don’t want too many specifics, but could you give a clue about how long do you suppose it will take for this plan to be accomplished. Are we talking one, two, three decades here? You want to help Iraqis fight corruption? May I suggest you begin by doing something about American corruption in the reconstruction effort, not to mention the White House, and the Halls of Congress? And while you’re at it, why not take a swing at cronyism and incompetence?

As we make progress on the ground, and Iraqi forces increasingly take the lead, we should be able to further decrease our troop levels – but those decisions will be made by our military commanders, not by politicians in Washington, D.C.

Is this a policy shift? Because when you went into Iraq the generals from Tommy Franks on down said you needed more troops than you put in there. And Paul Bremer also said you needed more troops. So since when are you, as Commander in Chief, going to listen to commanders on the ground? Get this straight: supporting our troops doesn’t mean hiding your own incompetence behind men in uniform. It means giving them support, armor, and care when they return, all things that you, Mr. President, have compromised. Well, you go to war with the Army you have, as Rumsfeld would say, and you certainly are at war with your army.

[T]here is a difference between responsible criticism that aims for success, and defeatism that refuses to acknowledge anything but failure. Hindsight alone is not wisdom. And second-guessing is not a strategy.

Well I guess that explains why the Republican Congress is doing nothing to complete part two of the investigation into the pre-war intelligence failures. You know, the one they agreed to put off until after the 2004 elections, so as not to politicize them? Yeah, hindsight is not wisdom, but there is something to be said for learning from your mistakes. And I am just betting that later on you are going to talk about personal responsibility. Wouldn’t you want to know who is responsible, who should be held accountable, if, say, someone lied us into war? I know I would.

A sudden withdrawal of our forces from Iraq would abandon our
Iraqi allies to death and prison … would put men like bin Laden and Zarqawi in charge of a strategic country.

Let’s just pretend we all didn’t know that this is absolute bullshit. What if Bin Laden and Zarqawi were in charge of Iraq? Is there any person on earth who could criticize the decision to decapitate that regime? Putting bin Laden and Zarqawi in the Presidential palace in Baghdad for a day, and then blowing him to smithereens, doesn’t seem like such a bad outcome, when compared to listening to the sickening voices of them mocking American impotency.

You know, Clinton tried to hit them with cruise missiles, but the Republicans accused him of trying to wag the dog. Maybe it is just your aversion to anything that Bill Clinton did, which makes you so apathetic about bringing OBL to justice, or better yet, his maker.

Well, you see where this is going. I haven’t even gotten to W’s lame and dishonest defense of his total disregard for the FISA law.

The bottom line: W is a pathetic, dishonest, miserable failure, and a disgrace to America. And that’s putting it mildly.

“and tell ‘em Big Mitch sent ya!”

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