Monday, October 06, 2014

Ten Years Later: The Seven Nation Army of George W. Bush

Because I am a Liberal, I sometimes torment myself by looking back and back and back, beyond the limits of Known History and deep into the neverwhen of Stuff That Happened Before the Obama Administration,

Ten years ago, we were facing another election.  It was being aggressively prosecuted by another cohort of utterly loathsome Conservative criminals and lunatics who were hotly, wildly cheered by the same army of fact-impervious Pig People who will flood the polls again this November to try and complete the act of slow-motion sedition-by-sabotage they began the day Barack Obama first took the oath of office, and that they have been fanatically pursuing every day since,

If you're a Liberal, you remember waking up that awful day in November to find that, yes, 60 million of your fellow citizens really were fucking stupid enough to give the Bush Regime four more year to finish the job of wrecking this country on behalf of their corporate benefactors.

And if you're a Liberal, you are girding yourself for the possibility of once again waking up to find that, yes, about half this country has continued to exist in a persistent political vegetative state utterly unmoved or unaware of any of the events of the past 10 years because IRS! Benghazi !DeathPanels! Ebola! Deficits! and so forth.

They are angry, paranoid and often racist houseplants, and continuing to pretend they are somehow competent citizens with whom we can have a civil debate over anything is a habit of mind which outlived its usefulness long ago.

And so, as a public service and in the interest of history, I though it would be a hoot to go back to the feverish days leading up to the 2004 election and remind future history students that this is roughly what the Bush Administration promised us over and over the Iraqi Army would look like in the here-and-now:

By now, our blood and treasure was supposed to have bought us a well-armed, superbly-trained Iraqi Army nearly one million strong, ready and eager to take over the task of protecting the sovereign nation of Iraq from the terrorists our invasion  the sovereign nation of Iraq created.

Where did I get those figures?

They are simple, linear extrapolations based on the many, many lies that came pouring effortlessly out of the mouths of the President and Vice President of the United States exactly 10 years ago..

Lies which worked like a fucking charm.

From the first Presidential debate, September 30, 2004:
Bush: Let me first tell you that the best way for Iraq to be safe and secure is for Iraqi citizens to be trained to do the job.

And that's what we're doing. We've got 100,000 trained now, 125,000 by the end of this year, 200,000 by the end of next year. That is the best way. We'll never succeed in Iraq if the Iraqi citizens do not want to take matters into their own hands to protect themselves. I believe they want to. Prime Minister Allawi believes they want to.

And so the best indication about when we can bring our troops home -- which I really want to do, but I don't want to do so for the sake of bringing them home; I want to do so because we've achieved an objective -- is to see the Iraqis perform and to see the Iraqis step up and take responsibility.

Bush:  ...a free Iraq is going to make this world a more peaceful place.

Bush: ...And I'm optimistic. See, I think you can be realistic and optimistic at the same time. I'm optimistic we'll achieve -- I know we won't achieve if we send mixed signals. I know we're not going to achieve our objective if we send mixed signals to our troops, our friends, the Iraqi citizens.

We've got a plan in place. The plan says there will be elections in January, and there will be. The plan says we'll train Iraqi soldiers so they can do the hard work, and we are.

Bush: There are 100,000 troops trained, police, guard, special units, border patrol. There's going to be 125,000 trained by the end of this year. Yes, we're getting the job done. It's hard work. Everybody knows it's hard work, because there's a determined enemy that's trying to defeat us.

Bush: ...You can't change the dynamics on the ground if you've criticized the brave leader of Iraq.  One of his campaign people alleged that Prime Minister Allawi was like a puppet. That's no way to treat somebody who's courageous and brave, that is trying to lead his country forward.

From the vice-presidential debate, October 4, 2004:

CHENEY: I would. We've made significant progress in Iraq. We've stood up a new government that's been in power now only 90 days. The notion of additional troops is talked about frequently. But the point of success in Iraq will be reached when we have turned governance over to the Iraqi people, they've been able to establish a democratic government. They're well on their way on their way to doing that. They'll have free elections next January for the first time in history.

We also are actively rapidly training Iraqis to take on the security responsibility. Those two steps are crucial to success in Iraq. They're well in hand, well under way, and I'm confident that, in fact, we'll get the job done.

CHENEY: The Senator has got his facts wrong. I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11...

CHENEY: Classic example, he won't count the sacrifice and the contribution of our Iraqi allies. It's their country, they're in the fight, they're increasingly the ones out there putting their necks on the line to take back their country from the terrorists and the old regime elements that are still left. They're doing a superb job, and for you to demean their sacrifice, that strikes me as --

EDWARDS: Oh, I'm not --

CHENEY: -- beyond the pale. It is, indeed. You suggested that somehow --

EDWARDS: No, sir --

CHENEY: -- they shouldn't count, because you want to be able to say that the Americans are taking 90 percent of the sacrifice. You cannot succeed in this effort if you're not willing to recognize the enormous contribution the Iraqis are increasingly making to their own future. We'll win when they take on responsibility for governance, which they're doing; and when they take on responsibility for their own security, which they increasingly are doing

From the second Presidential debate, October 8, 2004:

BUSH: Two days ago in the Oval Office, I met with the Finance Minister from Iraq. He came to see me. And he talked about how optimistic he was and the country was about heading toward elections. Think about it. They're going from tyranny to elections. He talked about the reconstruction efforts that are beginning to take hold. He talked about the fact that Iraqis love to be free. He said he was optimistic when he came here. Then he turned on the TV and listened to the political rhetoric and all of the sudden he was pessimistic.

This is a guy who, along with others, has taken great risk for freedom. And we need to stand with him. My opponent says he has a plan. Sounds familiar because it's called the Bush plan. We're going to train troops -- and we are. We'll have 125,000 trained by the end of December. We're spending about $7 billion.

He talks about a grand idea -- let's have a summit. We're going to solve the problem in Iraq by holding a summit. And what is he going to say to those people that show up to the summit? Join me in the wrong war at the wrong time at the wrong place? Risk your troops in a war you've called a mistake? Nobody is going to follow somebody who doesn't believe we can succeed, and somebody who says the war where we are is a mistake. I know how these people think. I meet with them all the time. I talk to Tony Blair all the time. I talk to Silvio Berlusconi -- they're not going to follow an American President who says, follow me into a mistake. Our plan is working. We're going to make elections and Iraq is going to be free, and America will be better off for it.
From the final Presidential debate, October 13, 2004
Bush: The best way to take the pressure off our troops is to succeed in Iraq, is to train Iraqis so they can do the hard work of democracy, is to give them a chance to defend their country, which is precisely what we're doing. We'll have 125,000 troops trained by the end of this year.
Ah, memories...


Robt said...

Obviously we are going to have to live with this ailment. This mental illness that forgets and elects another Bush/ Cheney like leader.
There are already those blaming President Obama for pulling the troops.
It does not matter that Bush had signed an troop withdrawal document with the new Iraqi Government before Obama became President.
All Dick Cheney can do is appeal to his 14% waving his Penguin umbrella squawking how Obama is to blame.
And his penguin offspring Liz squeaks along.
I can only think of the wounded in need of an organ transplant that Cheney received instead.
From the dark side............

milegrinder said...

"Pig People?" Let's leave the poor pigs out of this. They're a tasty source of protein and entirely devoid of guilt in this equation. I will, however, accept "Goat Fuckers."

n1ck said...

Thanks for the archival work. Will be used.

Anonymous said...

Man, watching Cheney in those VP debates was so so painful. Especially in 2004, where he basically got to say whatever the fuck he wanted with no pushback from the moderator and feeble pushback from his opponent (which he talked over as needed), all but accuse John Edwards of being a traitor, and ignore the questions he didn't feel like answering. And he managed to smooth off the hard edges of his trademark contemptuous snarl just enough to seem like an approximation of a real human being.

And Lieberman, being the insufferable waste of CO2 that he is, just took a dive. At least he didn't threaten to filibuster his own idea though. He saved that for the next Democratic president. Asshole.

Fiddlin Bill said...

Just like "it was always about oil" is a truism re our Iraq War, Mr. Paneta's remarks illustrate that it's always about the big money, which has apparently "decided" that it's time again for another conservative tack in our national kabuki.

Fritz Strand said...

An even larger point is that local people will in the end control their own destiny. Nationalist China fell to Mao, the South Viet Nam army crumbled after we supported it for years and now, big surprise, the army in Iraq throws down their weapons.

Anonymous said...

"...utterly unmoved or unaware of any of the events of the past 10 years because IRS! Benghazi !DeathPanels! Ebola! Deficits! and so forth."

Deficits? When was the last time you heard a conservative mention deficits? I'm betting a good 30 seconds passed before the pivot to ISIS. Screw the deficit. The coffers of the defense contractors need to be filled.