Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...


Monday, September 08, 2003  

So what did you all make of Bush's speech last night? Media seems to be interested in only two elements of the speech--the $87 billion Bush requested for the next year, and his request that other countries get involved. But we already knew these facts (or roughly; Democratic calls for Bush to give a figure on the war was politics, not economics).

Here's what the media should be leading with: Bush gave three objectives for US involvement in Iraq:

Our strategy in Iraq has three objectives: destroying the terrorists, enlisting the support of other nations for a free Iraq and helping Iraqis assume responsibility for their own defense and their own future.


They're wonderful objectives: clear, outcome-based, measurable. But bizarrely, Bush then went on to claim that the US has begun to accomplish them, even though they are pretty much exactly the areas in which the US is getting slapped around. He used what has become a signature Bush approach when discussing accountability: instead of talking about actual outcomes, he talks about process accomplishments.

So to the objective of destroying terrorism, Bush has taken "action against the terrorists in the Iraqi theater, which is the surest way to prevent future attacks on coalition forces and the Iraqi people. We are staying on the offensive, with a series of precise strikes against enemy targets increasingly guided by intelligence given to us by Iraqi citizens." Which is to say, he's actually doing something; as to whether it in any way meets the objective of destroying the terrorists--well, on that Bush punted. Do you feel safer now than you did in February?

On enlisting the support of other nations--well, we asked, anyway. Plus, we have the Brits and Poles, so that's pretty international:

Two multinational divisions, led by the British and the Poles, are serving alongside our forces -- and in order to share the burden more broadly, our commanders have requested a third multinational division to serve in Iraq.


As to helping Iraqis "assume responsibility for their own defense and future," we're "encouraging the orderly transfer of sovereignty and authority to the Iraqi people." Furthermore, "In all these roles, there are now some 60,000 Iraqi citizens under arms, defending the security of their own country, and we are accelerating the training of more."

Is the President stoned out of his mind? We've done abysmal jobs of securing the country and putting the structures in place for anyhing like a democracy. Has the White House missed the news? The country is a shambles, bombs are exploding all over the place--and many of them aren't aimed at the US, but other Iraqis. The entire Iraqi military is armed, unemployed, and pissed off. Services still haven't been restored.

It totally blows my mind that the media aren't hammering Bush on this. Perhaps it's "objective" to play the emperor-has-no-clothes game. Otherwise they would have to write about the obvious disconnect between what the President said and what they report about in other sections of the paper.

I guess that's why people read blogs, though, eh?

posted by Jeff | 8:57 AM |
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