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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Evolution of the Bush Strategy

The news of a botched start to the Bush / Maliki summit on strategies for improving the situation in Iraq divulged a new chapter in the evolution of the Bush strategy for the War on Terror (TM).

For those playing along with the homegame version of "How to Lose Allies and Aid Your Enemies", the War in Iraq has evolved over time through the following key phases:

1) fantasy (the war being a good idea)
2) deception (lying to the public to justify starting it)
3) incompetence (botching the occupation)
4) corruption (losing billions in cash)
5) denial ("democracy is untidy")
6) deep denial ("what civil war?")

The leak on the front page of New York Times of a supposed classified internal briefing given to President Bush in October PRIOR to the American mid-term elections confirms a new tactic will become a key part of the new Bush strategy:

7) blame the victim

The United States trumped up bogus intelligence about WMD in a country that posed no immediate threat to us. We launched a war. We toppled a dictator who, if nothing else, had been containing some of the ethnic / sectarian factions within his country that would be killing each other, and prevented outside Islamic fundamentalist terrorists from operating within his borders. While racing to Baghdad to topple the dictator, we failed to secure TONS of high-explosives of great interest to terrorists dreaming of future roadside bombs and martyrdom. We then dismantled any military or civil organizations in the country. Then we waited a few months doing virtually NOTHING to make sure that the chaos had a good chance to take root.

Into that environment, a "freely elected" government and prime minister are then inserted and expected to defend themselves and civilians against a flood of immigrant terrorists and home-grown war lords now free to settle 800 year old tribal scores?

The attempt to leak this memo the day of a face-to-face summit to "pressure" a politician who is powerless to fix a disaster that the United States created did NOTHING to help anyone. It furthers the perception of the Prime Minister and parliament as puppets of American whim which seriously jeopardizes the stability of the government already near collapse. It strengthens the hands of war lords within Iraq like Muqtada al-Sadr who are fueling the sectarian violence from within. It also strengthens the bargaining position of Iran and Syria who are already causing enough problems in Lebanon. Finally, it sends a message to America's allies and uneasy partners that our policy making team is fickle, short-sighted and vindictive in ways with deadly consequences to our "partners."

Interestingly, one key part of the Bush war plan remains unchanged.


Nothing in the commentary from Tony Snow or anyone in the Bush Administration complained about the "leak" of a classified policy document on the front page of the New York Times. A document that has clearly damaged our war effort, weakened the position of the Iraqi government, and aided the two countries (Iran and Syria) that can do the most to complicate our efforts in Iraq.

Why is there no Bush administration outrage over this leak? They were the leakers. It's OK to leak classified material when you think it helps your side. Even when you're wrong.

Some strategies never change.