Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Ignorer-in-chief

Tony Snow, the White House mouthpiece, had this to say at his daily press briefing.
And the real question for the American people to ask themselves is, do you take the war on terror seriously, with all the developments going on around the world? And, if so, how do you fight it to win? There seem to be two approaches. And in the Connecticut race one of the approaches is ignore the difficulties and walk away.

Now, when the United States walked away, in the opinion of Osama bin Laden in 1991, bin Laden drew from that the conclusion that Americans were weak and wouldn't stay the course, and that led to September 11th.
The thing that leaps out is that it was Ronald Wilson Reagan who pulled our troops out of Lebanon. (This was the point made by Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann.)

I was drawn to the unstated alternative in the false dichotomy. Snow’s comment was that there were two approaches. What is the alternative to ignoring the difficulties and walking away? Funny you should ask: It is the policy of King George and Joe Lieberman, rejected by the Democrats of Connecticut and by 60% of Americans.

This policy – call it “faith-based foreign policy,” if you will – retains the element of ignoring the problems. In place of “walking away,” it introduces two different elements, namely, getting killed, and making matters worse.

For example, the war has already cost the U.S. treasury $302 billion dollars. Some would say deficits are a problem, but not the boys in the White House.

The Republicans have adopted a theory of economics, formerly known as voodoo economics, but now resurrected as faith-based economics. It is summed up in the words of Dick Cheney to former Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neill: “Deficits don’t matter.”

But ignoring the difficulties caused by deficits is child’s play compared to ignoring the whole difficulty of the civil war in Iraq. Nobody was better prepared for the work of ignoring it than George W. Bush. According to Raw Story, “Former Ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith is claiming President George W. Bush was unaware that there were two major sects of Islam just two months before the President ordered troops to invade Iraq.”

Dubya has been busy ignoring sectarian violence as it descends into a civil war, and as he likes to remind us, “It is hard work.” He takes his information from his Generals.

Recently, as reported on Think Progress “Gen. John Abizaid, the Commander of the U.S. Central Command, raised the prospect that Iraq could be sliding toward civil war. Abizaid said, ‘I believe that the sectarian violence is probably is as bad as I’ve seen it in Baghdad in particular, and that if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move toward civil war.’ Gen. Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, ‘I believe we do have the possibility of that devolving to a civil war.’”

How can Dubya ignore that?. Here’s the Decider at work:
You know, I hear people say, “Well, civil war this, civil war that.” The Iraqi people decided against civil war when they went to the ballot box.
Since that election, our military has sustained 1,155 deaths, and perhaps as many as ten thousand wounded. But Dubya has taken a firm stand in favor of ignoring their deaths. Not only has he boycotted their funerals, he wants you to ignore them, too. He has forbade any pictures of coffins coming home.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have marched under banners that said, “Bush and Saddam: Two sides of the same coin.” Who could ignore that? Bush is who! He is scheduled to begin a 10-day vacation in Crawford.

As I write these words, NBC News is announcing that a Scotland Yard has detected an Al Quaeda plot to blow-up trans-Atlantic flights to the United States. Twenty-one British born terrorists have been arrested. The threat level is ‘critical’ in Britain, and elevated to ‘Red’ in the U.S.

We will see if King George can extend his incredible string of ignoring problems, while there is still brush to be cleared in Crawford. I am betting he can.

“… and tell ’em Big Mitch sent ya!”

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