Processing false Premises

It grows increasingly difficult to process the false premises emanating on an almost daily basis from the Bush White House; absurd explanations for outrageous behavior and irrational conclusions call to mind George Orwell’s story line in his book 1984. 

What was called “duck speak” then is today’s same kind of meaningless babble; the president proclaims the “surge” in Iraq is working – – that war is a kind of peace. Just look, he says, at how violence has diminished with the influx of more American troops – – how there are fewer combat deaths and that our military is engaged in a vital mission that will end in victory, a victory no-one has yet been able to define in a place where “law” has little relevance and reconciliation is a word at a distance from reality.

Senator McCain in Iraq recently was unable, for safety reasons, to meander through the marketplace he once visited albeit even then accompanied by Blackhawks and ground forces. Yet he proclaims great progress in a country whose disparate factions he seems incapable of classifying in any meaningful way, preferring to cite Al Qaeda as the source of disorder and insurrection. Where, one wonders, are photographs of the concrete blocks that close off access to roads and neighborhoods or the empty places where homes once stood? Where are the lists of Iraqis recently-removed by death or displacement?

For those millions who have fled to neighboring countries or who remain homeless within the borders of their own country, liberation has not meant progress or a climate in which democratic reforms have taken hold. They are all but forgotten except for human rights groups, certainly not part of the discussion among our leaders. Only in a world of 1984 redux could disorder and disorientation be described as progress.

Only in the kind of “reality control” exercised in fiction and by the current administration could non sequiturs pass for truth. How often, for example, the reasons for our presence in Iraq have changed over time – – from the search for WMD our government refused to let inspectors complete, to the liberation of the Iraqi people, to the central focus of a war against terrorism and most especially Al Qaeda whose presence in Iraq only became a factor after we overthrew Saddam Hussein.

Thus has the notion of creating Middle East stability resulted in the polar opposite as the region smolders. And President Bush who calls himself The Decider can more accurately be described as The Great De-stabilizer. Curiously he talks as if everything were moving along according to some grand design even though events belie the jingoistic optimism of military leaders and the folks who led us into a misguided war of choice in the first place.

In recent days during some strange hallucinatory state Prime Minister Maliki decided to flush out the minions of Moktada al-Sadr, and fierce battles raged. But, even with their apparently superior numbers Maliki’s troops seemingly failed tactically, gave up or joined forces with Sadr’s men. That meant US to the rescue and Sadr eventually called for a cease fire. In his own reality vacuum President Bush described Maliki’s attack a sign of his growing strength and a step toward peace.

Most rational observers, however, would cite the failure of his troops to complete their mission without backup from the US as something of a setback, a discouraging sign that nothing that needs doing in Iraq is in fact getting done. Sadr commands a Shiite faction in opposition to the current Shiite government which suggests internal battles for power rage alongside the insurgencies that continue to roil the country. And counter to what the administration would have hoped in terms of its policy towards Iran, there appears to be a growing relationship between the two Shiite-majority countries.

The most likely remediation of the disaster we have spawned in Iraq will probably be some constructive intervention by neighboring states. The “surge” can’t be the final answer; it hasn’t provided a window for political reconciliation as promised – – our troops are exhausted, our treasury drained. Despite what the Bush White House describes as Iran’s “meddling”, the US is the real interloper in the region and will probably need to find solutions in conjunction with regional powers it may not like or trust.

But just in case Bush and Cheney harbor any back-door plans to attack Iran, it might not be a bad idea to draw up articles of impeachment in the event their delusions become policy dressed up in the language of deceit 1984 style.