Friday, June 17, 2005

Is Bush's Salesmanship On the Decline?

With nearly 60% of Americans now saying that Bush's Iraqi excursion was not worth the loss of US soldiers lives and the hundreds of billions of dollars in costs, the Bush Administration is stepping up the P.R. front. There have been calls from Democrat and Republican members of Congress for the President to begin discussing an exit strategy. Rather than face the obvious and deal with the American people in an honest manner, the Bush Administration has decided to launch a new P.R. offensive to re-sell Bush's war. The Bushies and their mindless defenders are so detached from the reality on the ground in Iraq, that they continue to make outlandish statements concerning our progress in Iraq. Recently, Vice President Dick "never met a dictator I couldn't profit from" Cheney stated that the insurgency is in its "last throes" and we are on the verge of victory -- whatever that is. Since 9/11 the bush-whipped media would have just let that go, and marginalized anyone who disputed the VP. Finally, some members of the media are getting their balls back. Here is an exchange between WH press secretary Scott McClellan and ABC News WH reporter Terry Moran. It looks like the usual WH tactic of simply repeating talking points might not be so effective in the future:

Q Scott, is the insurgency in Iraq in its 'last throes'?

McCLELLAN: Terry, you have a desperate group of terrorists in Iraq that are doing everything they can to try to derail the transition to democracy. The Iraqi people have made it clear that they want a free and democratic and peaceful future. And that's why we're doing everything we can, along with other countries, to support the Iraqi people as they move forward….

Q But the insurgency is in its last throes?

McCLELLAN: The Vice President talked about that the other day -- you have a desperate group of terrorists who recognize how high the stakes are in Iraq. A free Iraq will be a significant blow to their ambitions.

Q But they're killing more Americans, they're killing more Iraqis. That's the last throes?

McCLELLAN: Innocent -- I say innocent civilians. And it doesn't take a lot of people to cause mass damage when you're willing to strap a bomb onto yourself, get in a car and go and attack innocent civilians. That's the kind of people that we're dealing with. That's what I say when we're talking about a determined enemy.

Q Right. What is the evidence that the insurgency is in its last throes?

McCLELLAN: I think I just explained to you the desperation of terrorists and their tactics.

Q What's the evidence on the ground that it's being extinguished?

McCLELLAN: Terry, we're making great progress to defeat the terrorist and regime elements. You're seeing Iraqis now playing more of a role in addressing the security threats that they face. They're working side by side with our coalition forces. They're working on their own. There are a lot of special forces in Iraq that are taking the battle to the enemy in Iraq. And so this is a period when they are in a desperate mode.

Q Well, I'm just wondering what the metric is for measuring the defeat of the insurgency.

McCLELLAN: Well, you can go back and look at the Vice President's remarks. I think he talked about it.

Q Yes. Is there any idea how long a 'last throe' lasts for?

McCLELLAN: Go ahead, Steve....

Can anyone answer me this question? What is "victory" in Iraq. How will we know when we have achieved it? I want America to be successful in everything it does, but I don't see how we "win" here. First, we were told Iraq was involved in 9/11, so we had to "get 'em" for revenge's sake. Turns out, that was not true. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Then, I thought we were going there to get rid of Saddam and his WMD. Well, we got Saddam, but he didn't have any WMD. So, we are 50/50. Then, the ever-shifting rationale for Iraq shifted to bringing democracy to Iraq. Well, according to the Bush folks, the Iraqis have had free and fair elections (consider the source though), are working on a constitution, and are essentially Texas with head scarves instead of cowboy hats. So, let's go...mission accomplished, right? The insurgency will continue to grow as long as we are there. These insurgents are not simply angry ex-Baathists or members of Al-Queda. The insurgency's membership is now being populated with everyday Iraqis whose anger stems from our mere presence in their country. No doubt, Reublicans will call them ungrateful, but the fact is, they may be happy Saddam is gone -- but that happiness pales in comparison to the anger they feel toward our open-ended presence in their lives. The longer our troops are there in such large numbers, the greater the insurgency will become. It is that simple. We have done all we can for the Iraqi people. They "elected" their own leaders, and we have trained their military (US soldiers have 13 weeks of boot camp before going to the front lines, the Iraqi soldiers have had much longer than that). It is time to go.

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