Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Low Expectations

A recent intelligence estimate indicates that both Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are back up to pre-9/11 strength despite the United States' six-year-long "war on terror," which, considering Al-Qaeda is the terrorist organization that planned and carried out the 9/11 attacks and the Taliban is the group who gave them a base from which to plan and carry out those attacks, is a pretty damning indictment of the Bush regime's policies in carrying out this so-called "war."

But here's how Bush spun the news: He said that both groups "would have been stronger" if not for what the US has done to combat terrorism since 9/11. In short, Bush is telling the American people, "Well, it could have been worse."

Wow. Bush's only defense against criticism of his conduct of the "war on terror" is to tell us that he has managed to contain the threat at to the same level it was at when terrorists perpetrated the worst terrorist attack on American soil in the nation's history??? To contain the threat to the same level it was at when the US wasn't spending billions of dollars and sacrificing thousands of American lives combatting worldwide terrorism? That's it? He thinks, somehow, that this proves he's doing a good job? That this is a good return on our investment?

It's like your house is on fire and the firemen come and kind of bumble around, sort of haphazardly fighting the fire as if untrained and drunk, while the Fire Chief goes out and gets more firemen and more equipment that don't seem to help much at all. After a few hours, your house is still on fire. The fire hasn't spread much, but it hasn't been extinguished either. When the firefighter tells you that despite tying up all the town's fire equipment and firemen at exhorbitant cost for the past few hours and yet failing to put the fire out, in what appears to be a case of gross incompetence, "Well, if we hadn't come, it would have been worse." Would you be happy with that level of peformance? Or would you say, "Well, yeah, but you haven't really helped much either. My house is still on fire. Aren't you supposed to, say, put it out or something?"

I'm not questioning whether the Bush regime managed to do something with the vast resources and powers of the United States at its disposal that hurt the terrorists and made them weaker than they otherwise would have been. Anyone who couldn't manage, if only by blind luck, to accomplish that while in charge of the world's lone remaining superpower in six fuckin' years would almost have to medically brain dead. A kid with Down's syndrome could manage that feat, the feat Bush is hanging his hat on.* No, the question is, were the strategy and policies adopted by the Bush regime as effective as could be realistically expected? Did they work as the regime claimed they would? Were those strategies and policies adopted for sound reasons?

The answer to all these questions is a resounding no. The Bush regime's policies have been utter failures, squandering resources and lives with little or no return. Nothing has gone as the regime planned or as it claimed. The results have been far worse than predicted time and again, often disastrously so. And lastly, the regime set its course in the face of evidence rather than in accord with it, failing to consider important lessons of the past, failing to use available information and facts to form its policies, and ignoring the advice of experts. The mistakes made by the regime were, by and large, completely avoidable, the results predictable, and the decisions foolish. That's poor job performance, no matter how you try to spin it. Regular people get summarily fired for job performance like that.

And it's no different with the report on those 18 benchmarks set by Congress for progress in Iraq. None of the benchmarks was met, while there is only "satisfactory" progress towards eight of them. Bush trumpets this like a victory or a good job performance appraisal. But, the fact is, the Iraqis are failing to make even satisfactory progress in achieving 10 of the 18 goals.

And this is good news, according to Bush? Yeah, right. Bush has gone from practicing the politics of personal destruction to practicing the politics of lowered expectations. Real low, I think.

Not many are buying it, and that's a good thing.

*Oh, how I wish we could replace Bush and Cheney with some kids who have Down's syndrome. Seriously. They would almost have to be better, if only because, by making few decisions, they wouldn't make so many bad ones.


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