I did watch -- it. Him. I think it was the first time I've made myself do that. Felt like it was a bit of history that I should see --popping the cork on the end of the world or something. He read the whole thing, clearly rehearsed, and you could see his beady eyes furtively moving along with the text. He stumbled a bit (hey, reading is hard work) but not badly, and got to say "nuk-u-lear" twice, though it seemed to me the second time he really tried to get it right. He didn't sit at his desk, he stood in front of -- books. Get it? Just so we'd know he's been readin' and thinkin' 'bout this problem.
Here are some random take-away thoughts.
The nattering heads on CNN were saying, "Well, if this doesn't work, what's plan B?" Plan B?!! Wasn't Plan B the one after Mission Accomplished? Aren't we on Plan Z by now?
The Republicans were saying they haven't heard a plan from the Democrats for "winning" the war. Are they serious? Do they really want to know why? It's the winning part, stupid. We have a plan for getting out, it's called Surge On Home, but it's not exactly -- what you had in mind.
I couldn't watch anymore of the after yak, but I wonder what the members of the Iraq Study Group thought as the Surge Meister sent them a basic fuck you and thanks for your service. Were any of them interviewed afterwards? Would love to hear Gepetto James Baker's take on his naughty little puppet now.
Before the speech I heard John Burns of the NYTimes say on PBS NewsHour that despite what Bush was about to say, Maliki did not want more American troops brought in, and there were some tense negotiations to shove it down his throat. (And you thought we were the only ones.)
But Burns also said, and this gave me pause, because Burns is usually not a cheerleader for this war, that American troops have a calming and stabilizing effect wherever they go in Iraq. He said that polls show that 80% of Iraqis do not like the American occupation, but if you ask any individual Iraqi in the most violent areas if they would like to see more American troops, "they almost invariably say yes, unless they're members of the Mahdi army or one of the militas, because that's what brings calm to the areas."
So even though I'm anti escalation, er, surge, this got me to thinking. You know it's bad when the Americans kicking down your doors are seen as bringing calm. And if the Iraqis could safely and secretly vote (not on Diebold machines) on whether we stay or leave, I wonder what the outcome would be. What if they resent the bejeezus out of us, but are terrified of what will happen when we leave? It's hard to imagine it getting much worse, but it almost surely would. And if Moqtada al-Sadr and the Mahdi militia take over, a charming bunch judging from -- everything, but most vividly their execution manners, what then? What becomes of girls and women subjected to their harsh Islamic laws? If all hell breaks loose and people are rounded up in the streets and slaughtered, (more than they already are being) in ethnic retaliation, as the Serbs were in Kosovo, are we who support withdrawal ready to simply ignore it? I know I'm sounding like David Brooks (and even he says the Prez is lying about what Maliki wants on this one.) but I'm just wondering.
One last thing. When Bush and everyone else now talk about the Iraqis needing to step up to the plate and take charge, which Iraqis do they mean? The citizens in the streets? Seems to me that those who are still there -- 12% of the population has fled, most of them the educated and middle class -- are just trying to dodge exploding cars, vegetable markets and mosques.
Do they mean the elected members of parliament, the ones who haven't been murdered? Even in our own mature and exemplary democracy the Democrats haven't been able to do much about the iron rule of the Bushites, and neither have we plain old folks, and though it may feel like it some days, so far we haven't been kidnapped or tortured. So how the heck are the Iraqis supposed to rise up as one without getting offed? Who is supposed to step up to the plate and where's the plate?
Well, it's a Gordian knot, that's for sure. But as a token of our readiness to seek a new path in Iraq (although it's not the path 80% us would have chosen -- even Dubya's puppy Norm Coleman is against it fer cryin' out loud) the American people should step up to their own plate and demand accountability from those that got us here.
Close your eyes and try to remember the self-righteousness and inflated sense of purpose of the Republicans and Ken Starr as they spent endless hours and millions of dollars digging through President Clinton's private land deals, to arrive at the aha! impeachable moment of a blow job. And we are unwilling to consider impeachment for this pack of jackals? The president has a brand new lawyer and the Dems have a brand new power of subpoena. To quote the Chief, bring it on.