The president says August will be “bloody.” He reasons that the “terrorists” will throw everything at our troops in Iraq because they know a report from the field in September will indicate whether or not the surge is working and Congress will confront the issue of war funding at the beginning of the new fiscal year. Thus the president in what passes for his analytical mode wants us to understand that more troops will die because ‘the enemy’ knows there is diminished support for the war in this country and hopes that an increase in violence will advance the cause of those who favor withdrawal.
It is astonishing that a statement assuring greater loss of life for our military would be offered up with such sang-froid, as if by warning us of more bloodshed and a determined offensive by ‘the others’ he was actually on top of the situation in a weird kind of way. What is even more disturbing about his remarks is that they are an admission, unintended no doubt, that while Iraq is currently beset by violence, that condition will prevail, and most particularly in August, there will be an up-tick in violence directed at our troops – – a stunning conclusion with respect to our prospects for success there.
And although there are indications that troop strength and readiness are insufficient to augment ongoing surges and redeployments the president and some military leaders continue to suggest that increasing troop levels is well within the realm of U.S. military capability. There is even talk in some quarters that to rein in an insurgency like the one in Iraq our presence would be required for many years to come.
hat opinion was expressed by Karl Blanke of “Vets for Freedom” on Washington Journal over the weekend. Blanke, an Iraq Marine vet, reiterated the rhetoric that has become standard-issue over time about fighting terrorism and not allowing Al Qaeda to gain a foothold in the region, something that seems to have already occurred. And six years into the current administration and an even longer period of Republican control in Congress he blamed President Clinton for intelligence failures and a depleted military. According to Blanke not only would we need to keep a massive troop level in Iraq for at least ten years in order to bring the insurgency under control, the kicker is that would require reinstating the draft.
Unfortunately our troops can’t always distinguish between outside terrorist elements and various internal factions. As lines increasingly blur our soldiers sometimes find they are battling Iraqis they have trained. And while they fight on for each other and out of respect for the uniform there is a growing sense within the ranks that theirs is a fruitless mission with an ill-defined enemy, indistinct goals and the likelihood they will continue to monitor a civil war and function as a magnet for terrorist activity.
Into the incredible mix of blunders and confused reasoning that dominates this administration’s conduct of the war and its foreign policy in general Mr. Bush issued a “National Security Presidential Directive” in May. In this document the president assumes control over all branches of government and departments in the event of a “catastrophic emergency” defined as “any incident, regardless of location that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage or disruption severely affecting the US population, infrastructure, environment, economy or government functions.”
It is conceivable that the events of 911 might have justified invoking the directive had it been articulated at that time. One has to wonder if there is current intelligence predicting some looming disaster after which President Bush would be able to assume the dictatorial powers delineated in this directive; at various points in the document references to certain addenda are classified which only adds to an impression that the president may overstep once again. When Jerome Corsi, supporter of the nominal “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” and author of the Book Unfit for Command attacking Kerry in the last presidential election, speaks with alarm about the Bush directive the rest of us should be more than a little concerned.
As the 2008 election takes shape voters, hopefully, have attained a level of sophistication regarding the sound-byte, bumper-sticker style of electioneering and will demand something resembling intelligent discourse.. It is hard to believe what pretenders to the White House have been saying. Paul Krugman summarizes in his NY Times column, 5/28/07: “When Rudy Giuliani says…Iran…is part of a “movement” that has already displayed more aggressive tendencies by coming here and killing us” he should be treated as a lunatic. When Mitt Romney says a coalition of “Shia, Sunni, Hezbollah, Hamas, The Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda” wants to “bring down the West,” he should be ridiculed for his ignorance. And when John McCain says that Osama, who isn’t in Iraq, will ”follow us home” if we leave he should be laughed at.”
During the Bush administration we have been deceived and ill-served by a president too ignorant and incurious to engage world leaders on a diplomatic level or to undertake serious foreign-policy initiatives based on something other than military might. We cannot afford another poorly-informed, under-educated sloganeer in the White House.

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