Monday, January 08, 2007
On Wednesday, President Bush will be giving an address to the nation about Iraq. He will be using the opportunity to introduce Operation Clap Louder, aka Operation Second Verse Same As The First, aka Operation Double or Nothing, aka Operation Save Bush's Ass.
All right, I admit it. I find this entire exercise a waste of time, unworthy of anything but mockery, and I find it surprising that anyone in America honestly has to pretend at taking this seriously, after this many years of Operation Same Damn Thing.
So fine. Let me give you the short version of the President's upcoming speech, which will contain no revelations, no accountability, no new strategy, unabashed fearmongering, digs at the patriotism of critics, and a deer-in-the-headlights speaking style that Dan Quayle wishes he could master. It'll go something like this:
Ladies and gentlemen, this is Chewbacca.
Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now think about it; that does not make sense! Why would a Wookiee, an eight-foot tall Wookiee, want to live on Endor, with a bunch of two-foot tall Ewoks? That does not make sense! But more important, you have to ask yourself: What does this have to do with this [war]? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this [war]! It does not make sense!
Look at me. I'm [President of the United States], and I'm talkin' about Chewbacca! Does that make sense? Ladies and gentlemen, I am not making any sense! None of this makes sense! And so you have to remember, when you're in that [Senate chamber] deliberatin' and conjugatin' the Emancipation Proclamation, does it make sense? No! Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed [Senate], it does not make sense! If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must [expand a war with no objectives or plan for victory.]
And that's why sending another ten or twenty thousand men into Iraq is a good idea. Or something. Repeat six months later.
The problem in all this is once again that actual military experts don't have a voice, here. The people pushing for the "surge" are people trying to salvage not Iraq, but their own tattered shreds of credibility. You've got the American Enterprise Institute, Bill Kristol, and Karl Rove planning military strategies for a president whose deepest thoughts revolve around what he's going to have for dinner, because "losing" is not an option, and "winning" has long ago ceased to be possible. You've got people like the Iraq Study Group actually studying the available options and coming up with a completely contrary strategy, but since that strategy admits a core, unspeakable truth -- that we're losing -- Bush and his personal uberhawkish politburo don't want anything to do with it.
And so here we are. In a grand game of "sustained surge", e.g. conflict escalation in the midst of a sectarian civil war. A double-or-nothing bet on a clearly losing hand, using the lives of American soldiers as their chips. It doesn't matter to the AEI -- they ain't fighting. Doesn't matter to Rove -- his life ain't on the line. Doesn't matter to Bush -- he's the decider. The little people are the "doers", only significant when in abstract, five-figure numbers.
There's simply no way to take any of this supposed plan "seriously". There's nothing serious about sending another ten, twenty or thirty thousand men into a situation that still lacks a clear mission or objectives other than a nebulous "and then democracy will happen, and we'll all get ponies." There's no "seriousness" required on the part of either McCain or Lieberman in continuing to support the same failed policy they've supported all along. It's not seriousness, it's cowardice. Like Bush, they similarly can't abide being proven inept, and so the entire country is supposed to continue this game -- this fiction -- in order to save their sorry hides from the reproach of history.
But if that's what passes for "seriousness", these days, what the heck, I have an equally serious proposal: we should cut out the middlemen here, and just send Chewbacca to Iraq. Chewbacca could kick some ass, he'd be greeted as a furry liberator, and we'd be done.
True, this plan is complicated by the fact that Chewbacca is a fictional character. But considering that the Bush/McCain/Lieberman plan for sending more troops is fictional too, I'm not seeing that as a showstopper.
So terribly sorry for not taking the latest clap-louder "plan" seriously. But if we're going to start proposing fictional, farcical victory plans, let's at least have the common sense to chose ones that will only fictionally get people killed.