More Clearly Muddled
It makes no sense to tell the enemy when you plan to start withdrawing. All the terrorists would have to do is mark their calendars and gather their strength -- and begin plotting how to overthrow the government and take control of the country of Iraq. I believe setting a deadline for withdrawal would demoralize the Iraqi people, would encourage killers across the broader Middle East, and send a signal that America will not keep its commitments. Setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure -- and that would be irresponsible.
A Republican hearing or reading this part of the speech might think that Bush is making a lot of sense here. If you're already inside the frame, the picture seems complete.
But a more independent thinker might not think this picture is a sensible one to frame the debate with. Let's just look at a few of the points Bush made.
1. Setting a deadline is telling the "enemy" how close they are to winning the war.
Since we are mainly fighting the Iraqi people themselves, and the majority of the Iraqi people want the United States to withdraw, the Iraqi people themselves are the enemy of the United States.
2. It is the terrorists who want to overthrow the Iraqi government.
Calling the majority of the people of Iraq "terrorists" makes no sense at all to me. That word may trigger fear in America's Republicans, but it demonizes the people in Iraq who want America to leave them alone. It is a destructive and divisive way to refer to what is going on in Iraq.
3. Setting a withdrawal timetable would demoralize the Iraqi people.
While that may be true of a certain small percentage of Iraqis who depend on the US for their control of Iraqi politics and while it is certainly true of Iraqi profiteers, the majority of Iraqis are demoralized by the current situation. That's why they want us gone. They're sick and tired of the United States using their country as a battlefield for our "War on Terror."
4. Ending the occupation and withdrawing from Iraq "would encourage killers across the broader Middle East."
This is pure delusional thinking. The idea that America's military presence in Iraq is the source of Middle East stability is pure delusion.
5. Withdrawing from Iraq would, "send a signal that America will not keep its commitments."
The thing is that if we stay in Iraq, everything that we promised the Iraqi people when we began this war will have gone down the drain. Imposing a pro-American government on the people of Iraq by breaking down doors, torturing, indiscriminately shooting, strafing and bombing from the air, and declaring a larger and larger percentage of the population to be the "enemy" "terrorists" is not what we promised the people of Iraq. The only way we can now keep our word is if we get out of Iraq and leave it to others - the Iraqi people, Middle East neighbors, the UN - to broker the peace.
6. Withdrawing represents failure.
To the Republican Party which was hijacked back in 2000 by the neocons, this is true. The vision of the Project for the New American Century has the United States setting up a long-term control center in Iraq. If we withdraw, that strategy will clearly fail.
How better can we show the world that the United States is irresponsible than to keep on doing what we have been doing in Iraq since 2003? The whole world knows why we're doing it. It's only we here in the US who aren't aware of the real reasons.
You see, what's really at stake here and what President Bush is really saying is that if we set a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, those in Iraqi politics who oppose the Oil Law which essentially privatizes Iraq's oil just need to maintain their opposition for a few more months. If they manage to do that, everything Bush and Cheney have been fighting for in Iraq will be lost.
That's the real framework of this muddled mess.