Thursday, May 31, 2007

If There Will Be No Ceremony On A Battleship...

I am a bit bemused at President Bush's analogy between the situation we face in Iraq being similar to the Korean occupation.

Hostilities were ended on the Korean Peninsula due to the signing of an armistice on July 27, 1953. The signing ceremony occurred in the South Korean village of Panmunjom. (Scroll down to page 489 of this link for a description of the ceremony.)

President Bush has used a talking point several times in the past that victory in Iraq will not be realized with a surrender ceremony on a battleship. Let us acknowledge that there was no battleship airlifted to Panmunjom for the Korean armistice signing. Yet the overall point remains here. The President admits there will be no ceremony ending hostilities in Iraq, yet he thinks there is an analogy between Korea and Iraq.

It is unimaginable that the American people would have allowed our forces to remain in Korea for 60 years if the Korean war had continued on without the armistice. The only way the President can draw a comparison between Iraq and Korea is to end hostilities in Iraq, which he knows is not going to happen. If the President believes that America is going to keep our forces in Iraq as hostilities drag on and on for 60 years, he is delusional. Frankly, the President being delusional is not out of the question given his fantastic pronouncements on the war through out our occupation of Iraq.

This call for permanent bases in Iraq reverses course on longstanding public policy in regards to Iraq. Congress has previously voted to not fund the construction of permanent bases in Iraq. The administration has repeatedly stated that our goal was to leave Iraq as soon as their government could defend itself. That was what the oft repeated administration talking point "when they stand up, we'll stand down" was all about.

In fact, at no point until yesterday has there ever been any sort of official stance that America would occupy Iraq in perpetuity. Let us briefly consider the Presidents own words on the permanence of our occupation of Iraq: Here is the President from his famous Mission Accomplished speech, May 1 2003:
"Our coalition will stay until our work is done. Then we will leave, and we will leave behind a free Iraq."
Here is President Bush at the Republican National Convention in 2004:
"So our mission in Afghanistan and Iraq is clear: We will help new leaders to train their armies, and move toward elections, and get on the path of stability and democracy as quickly as possible. And then our troops will return home with the honor they have earned"
Here is the President in the 2005 State of the Union, eerily echoing his convention speech:
"We are in Iraq to achieve a result: A country that is democratic, representative of all its people, at peace with its neighbors, and able to defend itself. And when that result is achieved, our men and women serving in Iraq will return home with the honor they have earned."
The President in the State of the Union from 2006:
"The road of victory is the road that will take our troops home."
Here is the President, just 5 months ago in his prime time address to the nation announcing the troop surge:
"If we increase our support at this crucial moment, and help the Iraqis break the current cycle of violence, we can hasten the day our troops begin coming home."
As the situation in Iraq has worsened the support for the occupation to continue even in the short term range of over a year has fallen dramatically. In fact an analysis of President Bush's statements on public opinion may well explain this seeming disconnect from reality. The President has turned the widespread dissatisfaction with the course of events in Iraq into support for the surge using logic which again raises the specter of a delusioned Commander in Chief. When the President sees widespread dissent with the occupation, he looks at large numbers of people who want to win, and are upset that we are on a losing course. This, despite the overwhelming numbers which say that the people have given up on "winning" in Iraq. The divergent outlook from the President to the people has come to the point that the President now calls for a permanent occupation, as support for our occupation of Iraq sinks to never before seen depths.

If there is any point at which the Congress must finally step in and draw the line, saying this far and no farther, it is at the point that the President seems determined to lead the nation further into a disaster, to the point of trying to cajole us into understanding that the disaster must be allowed to continue in perpetuity. The President has dropped all pretense of ever wanting to leave Iraq, and wants to prepare American public opinion to accept that. Delusion, thy name is Bush.

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