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Decidedly Undecided

Thursday, Dec. 28, 2006 2:20 PM

Remember the Decider?

He's just not the bold, dashing Decider of old. Throw a report by the Iraq Studies Group on his desk, and he suddenly can't make up his mind. He needs to consult with the generals, the members of the panel, and lord knows who else.

"The key to success in Iraq is to have a government that's willing to deal with the elements that are trying to prevent this young democracy from succeeding," Bush explained.

Except it's not a democracy. Oh, sure, we pushed the country into elections, there's a functional parliament complete with infighting � but is it a democracy? Or is it just the same-old sectarian squabbles with a coat of Democracy White paint splashed about in haphazard fashion. And don't let it slip by that the Bush Administration clearly doesn't like al-Maliki any more.

You see, to Bush and his gang, it's quite clear what's needed in Iraq � a firm hand, the iron rod, the rule of law. They don't realize that they're treading the inevitable path to a Shiite country under Shari'a � the firm hand, iron rod, and rule of Islamic law.

The question is not about sending more troops into the meat grinder that is Iraq; it's about how to position the announcement and preserve the legacy of a man who couldn't run an oil company, baseball team, or the largest state in the union ��but somehow thought he was qualified to lead this country.

Factors in that timing include the drop in violence that has occurred at the beginning of the year. The theory is that we'd move more troops in, violence would fall off for unconnected reasons (such as it being time for the Hajj, and everyone dashes off to Mecca), and the Decider and Uncle Dick would take credit for the perceived success.

And then there's the death of Saddam Hussein. Who still doesn't have WMDs. Who still wasn't hiding in his superbunkers. Who still wasn't canoodling with al-Qaeda. Who still had nothing to do with 9/11. But the gang at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue persists in their magical thinking � that somehow, the execution of a tyrant will transform the region overnight.

But all we're getting from Decision Central is the same, tired rhetoric.

"It's important for the American people to understand that success in Iraq is vital for our own security. If we were not to succeed in Iraq, the enemy � the extremists, the radicals � would have safe haven from which to launch further attacks. They would be emboldened. They would be in a position to threaten the United States of America," Bush warned.

Let's take a closer look at this blazing feat of impeccable logic.

Success in Iraq is vital for our own security. How so? We do know that we've put an enormous strain on our armed forces, with units in for their third tour of duty. But with Saddam not only lacking the WMDs we claimed as justification for our actions, but his entire political party disenfranchised and a 'friendly' government installed � just who is left in Iraq to threaten our security?

� the enemy � the extremists, the radicals ��would have safe haven from which to launch further attacks. Wasn't that Saddam? Even the 'radical' cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is more focused on the immediacy of his political and temporal influence. Bush is painting an image of unbridled chaos; we leave, the nascent democracy falls, and a god-awful lot of extremists come a-gushing out of Iraq. And, in case you hadn't noticed, those extremists and radicals seem pretty effective without a safe haven. It also ignores the fact that if al-Qaeda wanted to attack us here in the states, they wouldn't be fucking around in Iraq. The assumption that the bulk of al-Qaeda's forces are committed or nailed down or occupied or too busy fucking with American troops in Baghdad is foolishness.

They would be emboldened. Now, is the fact that we went in with a piss-poor plan, hired corrupt contractors, chose corrupt politicians for the interim leadership, and continue to believe that a show of force will resolve a fundamental religious difference that has lasted for nearly fourteen centuries ... is that the fault of the extremists? Perhaps the plan was for the extremists to be so busy laughing their asses off at our incompetence that they wouldn't be fighting us.

They would be in a position to threaten the United States of America. How? With what? Non-existant WMDs? There's no Saddam, and there's no reason to believe that the major political players have an interest in America other than getting us off the Baghdad streets and out of their halls of government. And if we're to believe we are still vulnerable to a 9/11-style attack, we certainly haven't learned much of anything.

It's time for a coherent policy, not a pack of slogans and vague objectives. It's time to answer these key questions.

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